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M.S. Bhatia
Professor and Head
Department of Psychiatry
University College of Medical Sciences
and Associated Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital
Dilshad Garden, Delhi-11 0095 (India)
Maulana Azad Medical College
and Associated LNJP and G.B. Pant Hospitals.
New Delhi-11000i (India)

Lady Hardinge Medical College
and Associated Sm!. Such eta Kriplani and Kalawati Saran
Children's Hospital, New Delhi-11 0001 (India)
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Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


With the rapid unveiling of the aetiological factors
and also with the changes in the classifications, the
field of psychology has undergone a continuous
change and refinements which need a dictionary
for its completion. Moreover, the definitions of
various terms is the backbone of understanding a
subject, its research and its communication. The
impetus for writing a dictionary has come largely
from clinical practice and teaching. Both reveal the
lack of focused knowledge concerning the overlapping territories between psychology, psychiatry, and neurologya gap manifested in the paucity
of literature on the subjects. My intention has been
to provide a guide for students from a psychological, or sociological background, who may find
several aspects of these branches which impinge
on their interest usefully reviewed.
I have tried to produce a comprehensive text; it
is a defining dictionary rather than an explaining
one. The dictionary incorporates the revised
nomenclature and the diagnostic terms have been
arranged alphabetically.
All suggestions for the modification of this
book are welcome and will be duly acknowledged.
M.S. Bhatia

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Da Costas syndrome
Eating disorder

F Fabulation
H Habeas corpus


Iatrogenic illness
Jacksonian epilepsy
Kanners syndrome
la belle indifference

Q Quaalude
R Race differences
S Sadism

Bystander apathy
Hans Jurgen
Future shock
Kretschmer, Ernest
Lysergic acid
Overvalued Idea


T Taboo

Quota sampling
Rush, Benjamin


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

U Unconditional

positive regard
V Vaginismus

W Wagner von Jauregg,


Y Yavis

Z Zeitgeber

I. AppendixI

Wundt, Wilhelm


(Technical Mental Illness

Glossary: English to Hindi)
II. AppendixII (Table of Psychologic Tests) 475

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

AA: Abbreviation for (1) Alcoholics Anonymous,
(2) Achievement Age.
Abalienation: Loss or failing of the senses or mental
Abandonment: Discontinuation of treatment by the
physician before he has been dismissed by the
patient, obtained the consent of the patient to
withdraw, or furnished another doctor to continue
ABBA design: An example of counterbalancing of the
experimental conditions. The first condition (1) is
followed by two trials of the second condition,
(2) then by one of the first. The effect is to average
out order effects.
Aberrant: Behaviour that deviates from what is normal,
expected or desired.
Aberration: Pathological deviation from normal
thinking. It is not related to a persons intelligence.
Ability: A capacity or skill or competence to perform an
act without previous training. The term covers
intelligence and specific aptitudes.
Ability test: Tests of potentialthat is, of what an
individual can learn with training. Compare achievement tests, personality tests.
Abiotrophy: Premature loss of vitality of cells or tissues.
The concept of abiotrophy was used by Gowers
as a possible explanation of dementia: precocious

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

aging of the central nervous system was due to

limited viability of the nerve cells concerned.
Ablutomania: Excessive interest in bathing and
cleaning oneself. It is common in obsessive
compulsive disorder.
Abnormal: A term applied to behaviour or people, who
have been classed as not normal. A potentially
controversial label because of problems defining
normality. It is the rough equivalent of psychopathological and may be defined according to a
variety of criteria: (1) as behaviour which is different
from the normal (i.e., unusual); (2) as behaviour
which does not conform to social demands or
culturally determined averages or norms; (3) as
statistically uncommon behaviours, based on the
assumptions of the normal distribution: (4) as
behaviour which is maladaptive or painful for the
individual or (5) as the failure to achieve selfactualization, the humanistic view. These criteria
have their own problems because they lead to
classification of highly-regarded individuals like
social reformers and artists as abnormal.
Abnormal behaviour: Behaviour which deviates from
what is considered normal, culturally or scientifically, usually refers to maladaptive behaviour.
Abnormality or Psychological disorder: Any
behaviour or state of emotional distress that causes
personal suffering that is self-destructive, or that
is unacceptable to the community.
Abnormal personality: A personality with traits which
deviate markedly from what is generally accepted
as normal. This deviation is a quantitative and not
a qualitative one.
Abnormal psychology: The psychology of abnormal
behaviour. This term has largely been replaced
by clinical psychology when referring to the
professional practice of abnormal psychology.
Aboiement: Involuntary production of abnormal
sounds. It is often observed in schizophrenias, who
may make many animalistic sounds.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Aboulia: See Abulia.

Above and below: Adler used this term to imply the
unconscious notion existing in every psyche, male
or female, of femaleness as a degradation and
maleness as an ideal.
Abraham, Karl (18771925): First psychoanalyst in
Germany; manic depressive psychosis, pregenital
stages, character types, symbolism.
Abreaction: A process, used in some forms of psychotherapy, especially psychoanalytically oriented
ones, by which repressed material, particularly a
painful experience or a conflict, is brought back to
consciousness. A therapeutic effect sometimes
occurs through partial discharge or desensitization
of the painful emotions and increased insight and
also, by the development of new coping strategies,
See also catharsis.
Abreaction, emotional: The discharge of emotion in
the course of psychotherapy.
Abreaction, motor: The living-out of an unconscious
impulse through muscular or motor expression.
Absence: A temporary loss of consciousness due to
epilepsy without any convulsive phenomenon.
Abstinence: The act of refraining voluntarily from some
activity or from the use of certain substances such
as food or drugs. In psychoanalysis, abstinence
refers to refraining from sexual intercourse. In
classical psychoanalysis, it refers to one of the
rules so called rule of abstinence, though it is
not clear what the patient should be made to
abstain from. A Freudian phrase. The treatment
must be carried out in abstinence refers
specifically to the fact that analytical technique
requires of the physician she demands. Friend also
referred it to the need to ensure that the patients
suffering is not relieved too quickly.
Abstinence syndrome: In the area of alcohol or drug
dependence, being without the substance on
which the subject is dependent. It is equivalent to

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

withdrawal symptoms and its appearance suggests

the presence of physiological dependence or
Absorption: Engrossment with one object or idea with
in attention to others.
Abstract attitude: Cognitive functioning that includes
assuming a mental set voluntarily; shifting voluntarily from one aspect of a situation to another,
keeping in mind simultaneously various aspects
of a situation; grasping the essentials of a whole
breaking it into its parts and solating them
voluntarily, planning ahead ideationally, and/
or thinking or performing symbolically. A characteristic of many psychiatric disorders in the
inability to assume the abstract attitude or shift
readily from the concrete to the abstract and
back again as demanded by circumstance. It is
also known as categorical attitude and abstract
Abstracting disabilities: Difficulties in organizing and
understanding the inputs once information has
been recorded in the brain.
Abstraction: The process whereby thoughts or ideas
are generalized and dissociated from particular
concrete instances or material objects. Concreteness in proverb interpretation suggests an impairment of abstration, as in schizophrenia.
Abstract thinking: See abstract attitude.
Abstract thought: Thought which uses concepts which
do not have an immediate material correspondence
such as justice or freedom. In Piagets theory of
cognitive development, the capacity for abstract
thought is only acquired after the age of about 12
years. It is an essential aspect of Piagets formal
operations stage.
Absurdity: In psychoanalysis, anything that is contradictory or incoherent or meaningless in a train of
thought or a constellation of ideas.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Abulia: Lack of will or motivation, often expressed as

inability to make decisions.
Abuse: (1) of substance, using them inappropriately in
a way that is harmful to the individuals e.g.,
excessive alcohol consumption. See, addiction
(2) inappropriate and harmful treatment of another
person (child, elder, sexual, spouse). The most
common form of abuse is child abuse.
Abused child: See battered child syndrome.
Acalculia: Loss of previously possessed faculty with
arithmetic calculation: may follow parietal lobe
Acanthesthesia: A type of paresthesia in which the
patient experiences a sensation of pinpricks.
Acarophobia: Fear of small objects such as insect,
worms, pins and needles seen in patients with
Acatalepsia: A mental deficiency characterized by the
inability to reason or comprehend.
Acatamathesia: Inability to understand language. This
is the perceptive (sensory) aspect of aphasia.
Acataphasia: A form of disordered speech in which
statements are incorrectly formulated. The patient
may express himself with words that sound like
the ones he means to use but are not appropriate
to his thoughts or he may use totally inappropriate
Accelerated interaction: An alternate term for marathon
group session.
Accessible and inaccessible: A patient is said to be
accessible if the psychiatrist or analyst succeeds
in making rapport with him, and inaccessible if he
fails. The term is pseudo-objective, since it implies
that the capacity for rapport is a constant, identical
in every examining physician. In general memotics
are deemed to be accessible and psychotics
Accident proneness: Susceptibility to accidents based
on psychological cause or motivations.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Accommodation: Loss of sensation of physical

Acetylcholine: A neuro-transmitter which is particularly
found at the motor end plate and is therefore
involved in muscle action.
Achievement: The successful reaching of goal. Used
particularly to refer to real life successes and when
evaluating a persons life.
Achievement motivation: The motivation to accomplish
valued goals and to avoid failure. This concept
became important as motivation theory became less
dominated by physiological drives. See also need
for achievement. The concept was developed by
Achievement test: Tests used to measure present
knowledge or skills especially knowledge or skills
developed through specific learning e.g., a statistics examination. Compare ability tests.
Achluophobia: Fear of the dark.
Acquisition: (1) A term used to indicate that a particular
skill or ability has been gained by an animal or
human being. When applied to language, this term
is used to avoid drawing inferences about whether
language has been learned or inherited. (2) The
phase during a conditioning procedure in which
the response is learned or strengthened.
Acquisition curve: The graphic representation of
learning which shows that the strength of the
learned response gradually increases with more
and more learning trials.
Acrophobia: Fear of high places. Acting out: To express
a wish, need or motivation particularly when it is
unrecognized or unconscious in overt behaviour
rather than words. Often the behaviour is aggressive
and self-destructive and may be very uncharacteristic for the persons who may have no idea,
why they behave in that way. In controlled
situations, it may be therapeutic (e.g., childrens
play therapy). In psychoanalysis, the essence of

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

concept is the replacement of thought by action

and it implies that (a) the impulse being acted out
has never acquired verbal representation, or
(b) the impulse is too intense to be dischargeable
in words, or (c) that the patient lacks the capacity
for inhibition. Since psychoanalysis is a talking
cure carried out in a state of reflection acting out is
antitherapeutic. Acting out is characteristic of
psychopathy and behaviour disorders and
reduces the accessibility of these conditions to
Action theory: A theory concerned with the study of
human goal directed behaviour and its social basis.
Active algolagnia: A synonym for sadism.
Active and passive: Friend made extensive use of the
idea that there exists a polarity between activity
and passivity; Masculinity, aggression, sadism
and voyeurism being active and feminity, submissiveness, masochism and exhibitionism being
passive. The situation is, however complicated by
a further assumption that instincts can undergo
reversal into their opposite, in particular that active
instincts can become passive, sadism and
voyeurism being usually cited as the examples of
instincts capable of this reversal.
Active group therapy: A type of group therapy
introduced and developed by S R Slavon and
designed for children and young adolescents, with
emphasis on emotional and active interaction is a
permissive, non-threatening atmosphere. The
therapist stresses on reality testing, ego strengthening and active interpretation.
Active therapist: Type of therapist, who makes no effort
to remain anonymous but is forceful and expresses
his personality definitively in the therapy setting.
See also Passive therapist.
Act psychology: The origin of the concept lie in
Brentanos doctrine of intentionality. It asserts that
mind could not be reduced to a set of elements

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

found in consciousness. It is the way in which

that activity contains or is directed towards that
result which manifests the true nature of mind not
the results alone.
Actual neurosis: Friend, in his early writing, distinguished between psychoneuroses and actual
neuroses, the former being due to psychological
conflicts and past events the latter being the
physiological consequences of present disturbances in sexual functioning. He further distinguished two forms of actual neurosis; neurasthenia,
the result of sexual excess and anxiety neurosis,
the result of unrelieved sexual stimulation.
Actualization: Realization of ones full potential. See
also individuation.
Actualizing tendency: A term coined by Rogers (1954)
to describe the process by which people seek to
develop their various potentials and maximize their
personal growth. Once their need for positive
regard from others has been satisfied. See also selfactualization.
Acuity: The fineness of the discrimination that a sense
organ can make. Most commonly used of vision.
Aculalia: Non-sense speech associated with marked
impairment of comprehension.
Acute confusional state: (1) A form of delirium in
which the most prominent symptoms are disorders
of memory deficit and both retrograde and anterograde amnesia and clouding of consciousness
(reduced clarity of awareness of environment and
reduced capacity to shift, focus and sustain
attention to environmental stimuli). See organic
mental disorder. (2) An acute stress reaction is
common in adolescence to new surroundings or
new demand. The reaction is characterized by
frustration; rage, inability to concentrate and
feeling or estrangement, depersonalization, and
loneliness; it is generally self-limited and subsides
and the person adjusts to his situation. See also

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Acute reaction to stress: Very transient disorders of

any severity and nature which occur in individuals
without any apparent pre-existing mental disorder
in response to exceptional physical or mental stress
such as natural battle and which usually subside
within hours or days. The acute reaction to stress
may manifest a predominant disturbance of
emotions e.g., panic states, excitability, fear,
depression or anxiety; a predominant psychomotor
disturbance e.g., agitation or stupor synonyms;
catastrophic stress reaction, exhaustion delirium,
combat fatigue, post-traumatic stress disorder.
Adaptation: The process of fitting or conforming to the
environment by behavioural or psychic changes
that promote an optimal level or functioning. The
term has highly specific meanings in, (1) physiology the adjustment of bodily organ to particular
environmental demands, (2) evolutionary biology
how a species is matched to the environments in
which it has developed, and (3) psychologythe
process by which an individual achieves the best
balance feasible between conflicting demands.
Piaget uses the term more specifically for the
correspond to reality. In psychoanalytic view,
adaptation tends to be regarded as a function
which is imposed on the developing individual
from without as a result of his experience of
Adaptational approach: An approach used in analytic
therapy. Consonant with Sandor Rados formulations on adaptational psychodynamics, therapy
focuses on the maladaptive patterns used by
patients in the treatment sessions, on how those
patterns developed and on what the patients must
do to overcome them and stabilize their functioning
at self-reliant, admit levels. See also social adaptation.
Adaptive behaviour: Any behaviour that increases an
organisms ability to adjust to a specific environment or situation.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Adaptive functioning: A composite term used to indicate a persons ability to function effectively in
three major areas: social relations, occupational
behaviour and use of leisure time. In DSM-IVs
multiaxial classification. Axis V, is the clinicians
determination of the patients highest level of
adaptive functioning in the previous year.
Addiction: A state of physiological or psychological
dependence on some substance, usually a drug,
resulting in tolerance of the drug such that
progressively larger doses are required to obtain
the same effect. Addictions are most clearly
identified by a failure to function adequately when
the substance is withdrawn. The commonest
addictions are of socially accepted drugs such as
nicotine and alcohol, though illegal drugs (e.g.,
heroin) and those initially taken as medical
treatment (e.g., tranquillizers) cause more public
concern. Colloquially the term has been stretched
to cover need which have become exaggerated to
a degree, that is damaging the individual e.g.,
addiction to television, violent exercise, or food.
Adjustment: Functional, often transitory, alteration or
accommodation by which one can better adapt
oneself to the immediate environment and to ones
inner self. Also defined as a judgement heuristic in
which subjective probability estimated at a certain
point and are raised or lowered depending on the
Adjustment disorder: Mild and transient disorders
lasting longer that acute reactions to stress, which
occur in individuals of any age without apparent
pre-existing mental disorder. Such disorders are
often relatively circumscribed or situation specific
are generally reversible and usually last only a few
months. They are usually closely related in time
and content to stresses such as bereavement.
Migration or separation experiences. In DSM III R
category introduced for maladaptive reactions to
identifiable life events or circumstances. The

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


symptoms generally lessen as the stress diminishes

or as the person adapts to the stress.
Adler, Alfred (18701937): Viennese psychiatrist and
one of Freuds original followers. Adler broke off
from Freud and introduced and developed the
concepts of individual psychology, inferiority
complex, overcompensation and masculine protest.
Administrative psychiatry: The branch of psychiatry
that deals with the organization of the efforts of
many people in clinical practice, in a programme or
in a hospital or other facility to provide care and
treatment. Its focus is on the management process
formed by the interaction of health administration,
clinical care of psychiatric patients, programme
elements and the mental health organization itself
with the attitudes, values and belief systems of
the environment in which the structure exists.
Adolescence: Period of growth from puberty to maturity.
The beginning of secondary sexual characteristics,
usually at about 12, and the termination of adolescence is marked by the achievement of sexual
maturity at about age 20. The period is associated
with rapid physical, psychological and social
changes. Research on adolescence has tended to
emphasize the four developmental areas of competence, individuation, identity and self-esteem.
Adorno: Born Theodor Wiesengrund in Frankfurt at
Main, Adorno (19031969) was a German Jewish
Philosopher, an outstanding neo-Marxist intellectual and a founding father of the Frankfurt school.
He made important contributions to musicology,
aesthetics, sociology and social psychology.
Adrenaline: A sympathomimetic catecholamine formed
from noradrenaline and the major hormones
secreted by the adrenal medulla. It acts within the
brain as a neurotransmitter. Its release during states
of fear or anxiety produces many of the physiological changes associated with those emotions.
It is also known as epinephrine.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Adultomorphic: The adultomorphic fallacy is attributing

to infants and children, the thoughts and feelings
which an adult would have under analogous
conditions. The reference is usually to theories
about the psychology of infants which the speaker
believes overestimate their level of development.
Adynamia: Weakness or fatigability.
Aesthetics: The study of the nature of beauty, or of
pleasing perceptual experiences.
Aetiology: The study of the cauzation. This term is
particularly used in refer to the causes of illnesses
and mental disorders.
Affect: The subjective and immediate experience of
emotion attached to ideas of mental representations of objects. Affect has outward manifestations
that may be classified as restricted, blunted,
flattened, appropriate, or inappropriate. Psychoanalytically a distinction is made between (a) discharge affects, which accompany expression of a
drive and (b) tension-affects, which accompany
damming up of a drive. Affects are regarded as
attached in ideas, and not vice versa. The concepts
affects and emotion differ in that whereas the
former regards them as affixed to ideas, the latter
regards them as valid, independent experience.
Affect abnormal: A general term describing morbid or
unusual mood states of which the most common
are depression, anxiety, elation, irritability and
affective lability. Affect appropriate. Emotional
tone in harmony with the accompanying idea,
thought, or speech.
Affect, blunted: A disturbance of affect manifested by
a severe reduction in the intensity of externalized
feeling tone. Observed in schizophrenia. It is one
of that disorders fundamental symptoms, as
outlined by Eugen Bleuler.
Affect display: A set of physical changes which
indicates an emotional state e.g., pilomotor response in cats, indicating fear and greeting smile in
humans, indicating friendliness.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Affect-fantasy: Jungs term for an emotional laden

Affect-flat: Absence or near absence of any signs of
affective expression. This may occur in schizophrenia, dementia or psychopathic personality.
Affect, inappropriate: Emotional tone that is out of
harmony with the idea, thought or speech accompanying it.
Affect, labile: Affective expression characterized by
repetitious and abrupt shifts, most frequently seen
in organic brain syndromes, early schizophrenia
and some forms of personality disorders.
Affect restricted: Affective expression characterized
by a reduction in its range and intensity.
Affect, shallow: A state of morbid sufficiency of
emotional response presenting as an indifference
to external events and situation, occurring
characteristically in schizophrenia of the
hebephrenic type but also in organic cerebral
disorders, mental retardation and personality
Affectionless psychopathy: A term used by J. Bowlby
to describe a syndrome in which an individual does
not demonstrate any emotion, positive or negative,
towards any other human being. Affectionless
psychopaths were characterized by a lack of social
conscience and a high level of delinquency.
Affective disorder: Any mental disorder in which
disturbance of mood is the primary characteristic,
disturbances in thinking and behaviour are
secondary characteristics. In DSM-III the affective
disorders include bipolar affective disorder, major
depression, cyclothymic disorder, dysthymic
disorder, and atypical affective disorders and in
DSM-III (Revised), they are termed as mood
Affective domain: A traditional approach to understanding human personality, originating with the


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

ancient Greeks, involving seeing the psyche as

comprising to attitude theory in which an attitude
is considered to consist of three major componentic
cognitive, emotional and behavioural components.
Affective interaction: Interpersonal experience and
exchange that are emotionally charged.
Affiliation: The process of joining or the sense of
belonging to a group. Nearly everybody feels a
desire to belong, so affiliation has been treated as
a travel or motive.
Aftercare: After hospitalization, the continuing program
of rehabilitation designed to reinforce the effects
of therapy and to help the patient adjust to his
Afterimage: An image which remains in the visual field
after the original stimulus has ceased. After images
usually occur, after particularly intense or prolonged stimulation of the retina.
Agape: (GK-brotherly love): Sometimes used in
conjunction with Erose to contrast altruistic love
(Caritas) with sensual love.
Agent: Many of the more puzzling aspects of psychoanalytical theory derived from the fact that one of
its basis premises. PSYCHIC DETERMINISM,
implicity denies the possibility that human beings
can be agents who make decisions and are
responsible for their own actions.
Age scale: A test in which items are grouped not by
type of task but by the average age at which
children pass-each item; scores are expressed as
Mental Age (MA). See Stamford Binet intelligence
Ageusia: Lack or impairment of the sense of taste. It
may be seen in depressions.
Aggression: Forceful physical, verbal or symbolic
action. May be appropriate and self-protective,
including healthy self-assertiveness or inappropriate as in hostile or destructive behaviour. May
also be directed towards the environment, towards

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


another person or personality or towards the self,

as in depression. It is used for behaviour (hitting),
emotional state (feeling aggressive) and to an
intention (wanting to harm). There are several
classifications of different types of aggression, the
most useful distinction being between instrumental
aggression, an aggressive act performed in order
to achieve some other objectives and hostile
aggression, motivated by antagonistic feelings and
emotions. In psychoanalytical usage it is a derivative of the Death Instinct.
Aggressive drive: Also known as the death instinct, it
represents one of the two basic instincts or drives
in psychoanalytic theory introduced by Freud; it
operates in opposition to the life instinct or sexual
drive in the dual-instinct theory. It is conceived of
as an unconscious destructive drive or impulse
directed at oneself or another that aims towards
dissolution and death. It operates on the repetition
compulsion principle, in contrast to sexual drive,
which follows the pleasure pain principle, see also
sexual drive.
Aging: Characteristic pattern of life changes that occur
normally in humans, plants and animals as they
grow older. Some age changes begin at birth and
continue until death, other changes begin at
maturity and end at death.
Agism: Systematic stereotyping of and discrimination
against elderly people to create distance from their
social plight and to avoid primitive fears of aging
and death. It is distinguished from gerontophobia,
a specific pathologic feat of old people and aging.
Agitated: Agitated depression and melancholia are
psychiatric diagnostic terms referring to patients
who are both deeply depressed and tense, restless
and anxious.
Agitation: Excessive motor activity, usually nonpurposeful and associated with internal tension,
examples, inability to sit still, fidgeting, pacing,
wringing of hands or pulling of clothes.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Agitation, catatonic: A state in which the psychomotor

features of anxiety are associated with catatonic
Agnosia: Inability to understand the importance of
significance of sensory stimuli; it cannot be
explained by a defect in sensory pathways or
sensorium. In strict usage, the diagnosis of agnosia
implies an organic cerebral lesion; however the term
has also been used to refer to the selective loss or
disuse of knowledge of specific objects due to
emotional circumstances, as seen in certain
schizophrenics, hysteries, and depressed patients.
Agoraphobia: Fear of open places; as phobic disorder
characterized by a fear of leaving ones home. It
may present with or without panic attacks. It is the
commonest form of phobia, seen in clinical practice.
Psychological treatments may attempt either to
reduce the symptoms of the phobia or to resolve
the underlying anxiety.
Agraphia: Loss or impairment of a previously
possessed ability to write; may follow parietal lobe
Agromania: Excessive interest in living alone or in rural
seclusion, it is sometimes associated with schizophrenia.
Aichmophobia: Fear of pointed objects, usually
expressed as a fear that the person will use the
object against someone else.
Allurophobia: Fear of cats.
Aim-inhibition: A relationship is said to be aim-inhibited
if the subject has no conscious erotic interest in
the object. Common examples are friendships,
platonic love and domestic affections between
relatives. The concept assumes that, in the absence
of inhibition, friendships would be overt
homosexual relationships, platonic love would be
consummated, and incest would occur.
Akathisia: A sate of motor restlessness manifested by
the compelling need to be in constant movement.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


It may be seen as an extrapyramidal side effect of

butyrophenone or phenothiazine medication.
Akinesia: Lack of physical movement, as in the extreme
immobility of catatonic schizophrenia.
Akinetic mutism: Absence of voluntary motor movement or speech in a patient who is apparently alert,
as evidenced by following eye movements.
Akrasia: The technical term for weakness of will.
Philosophers are interested in akrasia because
although it is obvious enough that people act
against their better judgement, yet when one looks
carefully it seems impossible that they should do
Al-anon: An organization of relatives of alcoholics, operating under the structure of Alcoholics anonymous,
to promote the discussion and resolution of common
Alateen: An organization of teenaged children of
alcoholic parents operating in some communities
under the philosophic and organizational structure
of Alcoholics Anonymous. It provides a setting in
which the children may receive group support in
achieving a better understanding of their parents
problems and better methods for coping with them.
Alcoholic blackot: Amnesia experienced by an alcoholic
concerning his behaviour during a drinking bout.
The blackout usually indicates that reversible brain
damage has occurred.
Alcoholic deterioration: Dementia and mental
deterioration associated with chronic excessive
alcohol use.
Alcoholic hallucinosis: The occurrence of hallucinations with a clear sensorium in a person with a history
of heavy drinking and alcohol dependence. It
usually follows a prolonged drinking bout. See also
delirium tremens.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): An organization of
alcoholics formed in 1935. It uses certain group
methods such as inspirational supportive techniques to help rehabilitate chronic alcoholics.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Alcohol idiosyncratic intoxication: The DSM III term

for a syndrome of marked alcohol intoxication with
subsequent amnesia for the period of intoxication
produced by the ingestion of quantities of alcohol
that would be insufficient to induce intoxication in
most people. In DSM-II, it was known as pathological intoxication.
Alcohol intoxication: The constellation of specific
neurological, psychological, and behavioural effects
produced by the recent ingestion of alcohol. Characteristically, the effects include slurred speech,
motor ataxia, disinhibition of sexual or aggressive
impulses, lability of mood, impairment of attention
or memory and impairment of judgement.
Alcoholism: Excessive dependence on or addiction to
alcohol usually to the point that the persons
physical and mental health is threatened or harmed
better termed as alcohol dependence syndrome.
Alcohol paranoid state: Paranoid state in alcoholics
characterized by excessive jealousy and delusions
of the spouses infidelity. In DSM-III, this condition
was called atypical paranoid disorder.
Aleatoric theory: A theoretical orientation employed
in the understanding of cross time change in
behavioural phenomena. From the aleatoric
viewpoint, human activity is largely embedded
within historically contingent circumstances.
Alexander, Franz: (Hungarian psychoanalyst, professor
of psychoanalysis at the University of Chicago)
chief contributions were in area of brief analytic
and psychosomatic medicine.
Alexia: Loss of the power to grasp the meaning of
written or printed words and sentences.
Alexithymia: A disturbance in affective and cognitive
function which overlaps diagnostic entities but is
common in psychosomatic, addictive and posttraumatic stress disorder. The chief manifestation
is difficulty in describing or recognizing ones
emotions, with a limited fantasy life and general
construction in the affective life.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Algolagnia: Enjoyment of pain.

Algophobia: Fear of pain.
Alienation: The estrangement felt in a cultural setting
one views as foreign, unpredictable, or unacceptable. For example, in depersonalization phenomens,
feelings, of unreality or strangeness produce a sense
of alienation from ones self or environment. In
obsession where there is fear of ones emotions,
avoidance of situations that arouse emotions, and
continuing effort to keep feelings out of awareness,
there is alienation of affect. Freudian psychoanalysis tends to concern itself with alienation from
oneself or parts of oneself while existentialism and
Marxism concern with alienation from others since,
however self-alienation limits the capacity to relate
to others and alienation from others limits the
capacity to discover oneself, both above types of
alienation are interdependents.
Alienist: Obsolete term for a psychiatrist who testifies
in court about a persons sanity or mental competence.
All or none law: The principle which states that when a
particular neurone is excited to fire a nerve impulse.
The impulse is always the same size, and always
travels at the same rate in the axon of that neurone.
All or none principle: The principle that a neurone
either fires or it does not, with no variation in the
strength of the electrical impulse. It was originally
thought that all nerve cells operated according to
the all or none principle, implying a necessity for
digital processing models of brain functioning, and
fostering some computer simulation approached
to understanding cognition. However, more recent
evidence has shown that all or none firing is
uncommon within brain itself; and the cortical
neurons may use variable coding.
Alliance: See therapeutic alliance, working alliance.
Alloplasty: Adaptation to stress by attempting to
change the environment. See also autoplasty. Term
was introduced by F. Alexander (1930).


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Allports group relation theory: Gordon W. Allports

theory that a persons behaviour is influenced by
his personality and his need to conform to social
forces. It illustrates the inter-relationship between
group therapy and social psychology. For example,
dealing with bigotry in a therapy group enhances
the opportunity for therapeutic experiences because
it challenges the individual patients need to conform to earlier social determinants or to hold on to
familiar but restrictive aspects of his personality.
Alpha male: A term used in ethology to describe a topranking or dominant male in a social group. See
dominance hierarchy.
Alternating role: Pattern characterized by patiodic
switching from one type of behaviour to another.
Altruism: Regard for an dedication to the welfare of
others. The term was originated by August Comte
(17981857), a French philosopher. In psychiatry,
the term is closely linked with ethics and morals.
Freud recognized altruism as the only basis for the
development of community interest. Bleuler
equated it with morality. There is dispute about
whether truly altruistic behaviour ever occurs.
Alzheimers disease: Presenile dementia; a chronic
organic mental disorder of unknown cause
characterized by progressive mental deterioration
secondary to diffuse cerebral atrophy.
Ambiguous: Having more than one possible meaning.
An ambiguous stimulus is one which can be
interpreted in more than one way.
Ambitendence: A psychomotor disturbance characterized by an ambivalence towards a voluntary
action, leading to contradictory behaviour; most
frequently seen in catatonic schizophrenia.
Ambivalence: Presence of strong and often overwhelming simultaneous contrasting attitudes,
ideas, feelings, and drives towards an object,
person or goal. The term was coined by Eugen
Bleuler, who differentiated three typesaffective

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


ambivalence, intellectual ambivalence and ambivalence of the will.

Ambivert: A person who has achieved a balance between extreme introversion and extreme extroversion
as described by Eysenck.
Ambulatory schizophrenia: Schizophrenic mental
illness that is sufficiently well compensated to so
as not to require continuous hospitalization.
Amentia: Lack of intellectual development, as a result
of inadequate brain tissue. In German speaking
countries, it means a subacute delirious state while
in U.K. a mental defect.
Ameslan: A standardized sign language used by deaf
and dumb people in America. Several primate
studies have involved the teaching of Ameslan to
gorillas or chimpanzees, with a degree of success.
Ames room: A well-known visual illusion in which a
room is constructed which when viewed from a
particular viewing point, appears to be normal, but
which in reality has one corner very much farther
away from the viewer than the other. The appearance of equal distance is achieved by carefully
balancing the perspectives of the room and the
levels of the floor and ceiling. The effect is that
people or objects of the same size appears to be of
different sizes.
Amimia: A disorder of language characterized by an
inability to gesticulate or to understand the significance of gestures. See also speech disturbances
and learning disabilities.
Amnesia: Pathologic loss of memory; a phenomenon
in which an area of experience becomes in accessible to conscious recall. It may be organic,
emotional or of mixed origin and limited to a sharply
circumscribed period of time. Two types are:
retrograde: loss of memory for events preceding
the amnesia proper and the condition(s) presumed
to be responsible for it.
Anterogade: Inability to form new memories for events
following such condition(s).


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Amnesia, localized: Partial loss of memory; amnesia

restricted to specific or isolated experience. It is
also known as lacunar amnesia.
Amnesia, neurological: (1) Auditory amnesia: Loss of
ability to comprehend sounds or speech. See also
Wernickes aphasia. (2) Tactile amnesia: Loss of
ability to judge the shape of objects by touch. See
also Astereognosis. (3) Verbal amnesia: Loss of
ability to remember words. (4) Visual amnesia: Loss
of ability to recall or recognize familiar objects or
printed words.
Amok: A condition, usually associated with Malayan
men, consisting of a sudden unprovoked outburst
of wild rage, usually resulting in homicide.
Anaclitic: Literally, leaning on in psychoanalytic
terminology, dependence of the infant on the
mother or mother substitute for a sense of wellbeing (e.g., gratification through nursing). Normal
behaviour in childhood, pathologic in later years,
if excessive. Freud (1914) distinguished two types
of object-choice (a) Narcissistic, which occurs when
a person chooses an object on the basis of some
real or imagined similarity with himself (b) Anaclitic
object choice occurs when the choice is based on
the pattern of childhood dependence on someone
unlike himself. Homosexuality is narcissistic while
heterosexuality is anaclitic.
Anaclite depression: A depression caused in infants
between 6 and 18 months by prolonged separation
from their mothers. The term was first used by Rene
Spitz, and was an important concept in early studies
of maternal deprivation.
Anaclitic therapy: A form of psychotherapy characterized by allowing the patient to regress. It is used
mainly in the treatment of psychosomatic disorders.
Anagram: A puzzle or problem which consists of words
with their constituent letters disarranged, such that
all the necessary letters are present but in the wrong

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


order. The letters may be randomly listed

(GAANMRA) or rearranged to resemble other
words ( A granma). Anagrams are often used in
laboratory problem solving tasks.
Anal character: A personality type that manifests
excessive orderliness, miserliness and obstinacy.
In psychoanalysis, a pattern of behaviour in an
adult that is believed to originate in the anal phase
of behaviour in an adult that is believed to originate
in the anal phase of infancy, between one and three
years. The term is usually used to refer to reaction
formations against anal erotism in particular to
compulsive obstinacy, orderliness and parsimony
but can refer to their opposite viz., compulsive
pliancy, untidiness and generosity.
Analytic psychology: The name given by the Swiss
psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung to his theoretical
system, which minimizes the influences of sexual
factors in emotional disorders and stresses mystical
religious influences and a belief in the collective
Analogue: An object or phenomenon, which corresponds to another in at least some respects. The term
is used in (i) theories of memory referring to
information stored in the brain from which a
representation or image of an object can be
generated; (ii) in biology for characteristics of
different species which have the same functions;
and (iii) in electronics for information stores
through a continuously variable quantity.
Analysis: See Psychoanalysis.
Analysis by synthesis: A term given to cognitive model
in which the brain is seen as combining separate
pieces of information about an event in order to
make the best judgement about the nature of the
Analysis in depth: See Psychoanalysis.
Analysis of variance (ANOVA): A widely used statistical procedure for determining the significance of
differences obtained on an experimental variable


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

studied under two or more conditions. Differences

are commonly assigned to three aspects; the
individual differences among the subjects or
patients studied, group differences, however
classified (e.g., by sex), and differences according
to the various treatment to which they have been
assigned. The method can assess both the main
effects of a variable and its interaction with other
variables that have been studied simultaneously.
Analysis of transference: See Psychoanalysis.
Anamnesis: A patients medical history particularly used
in connection with the patients own recollections.
Anancasm: Repetitious or stereotyped behaviour or
thought usually used as a tension relieving device.
Anankastic personality: Synonym for obsessive compulsive personality. See compulsive personality
under personality disorders.
Androgyny: A combination of female (feminine) and
male (masculine) characteristics in one person. See
also Bisexuality.
Anecdotal evidence: Information quoted in support of
idea or theory which has been obtained purely from
everyday experience or accounts, rather than from
some form of systematic or controlled study.
Anergic schizophrenic: See Burned out schizophrenia.
Anesthesia: Absence of sensation.
Angel dust: A hallucinogenic-like substance abused
the active agent of which is phencyclidine.
Angst: A mental disquiet or anguish considered by
existentialists to be the inevitable outcome of a full
appreciation of the implications of personal
responsibility and personal choice.
Anhedonia: Inability to experience pleasure from
activities that usually produce pleasurable feelings,
contrast with hedonism.
Anima: In Jungian psychology, a persons inner being
as opposed to the character or persons presented
to the world. Further, the anima may be the more

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


feminine soul or inner self of a man, the animus

the more masculine soul of a woman. See also Jung.
Animism: The attribution of living qualities to inanimate objects or phenomena; and frequently the
attribution of conscious awareness. Animism is a
powerful trend in human thought process which
has been studied mostly in the thinking of young
children. It is common place in everyday speech,
e.g., referring to the family car as a person, and is
demonstrated extensively in the belief systems of
non-technological cultures.
Anniversary reaction: An emotional response to a
previous events occurring at the same time of year.
Often the events involved a loss and the reaction
involves a depressed state. The reaction can range
from mild to severe and may occur at any time after
the event.
Anomaly: A noticeable deviation from what is expected
or predicted.
Anomia: Inability to recall the names of objects.
Anomie: (Gk: Nomos=Law) A term popularized by Emile
Durkheim (18581917) as a major cause for suicide.
It refers to a sense of alienation and despair
resulting from the loss or weakness of previously
valued norms, ideals or goals.
Anorexia nervosa: A disorder marked by a severe and
prolonged refusal to eat with severe weight loss,
amenorrhea or impotence, disturbances of body
image, and an intense fear of becoming obese. Most
frequently encountered in girls and young women.
May be associated with bulimia.
Anorgasmia: The inability to achieve orgasm in the
Anosognosia: Unawareness or nonacceptance of a
neurological deficit.
Anthropology: The study of humans in relation to
distribution, origin, classification and relationship
of races, physical characteristics, environmental
and social relations and culture.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Anthropomorphism: The attribution of human qualities

such as personality emotions and motives to animals.
Darwin and Lorenz supported this concept.
Antisocial personality disorder: A disorder characterized by the inability to get along with other
members of society and by repeated conflicts with
individual persons and groups. Common attributes
include impulsiveness, egocentricity, hedonism,
low frustration tolerance, irresponsibility, inadequate
conscience development, exploitation of others,
and rejection of authority and discipline. See also
Dyssocial behaviour.
Antlophobia: Fear of floods.
Anxiety: Unpleasurable emotional state associated with
psychophysiological changes in response to an
intrapsychic conflict, in contrast to fear, the danger
or threat in anxiety is unreal. Physiological changes
consist of increased heart rate, disturbed breathing,
trembling, sweating and vasomotor changes.
Psychological changes consist of an uncomfortable feeling of impending danger, an overwhelming
awareness of being powerless, the inability to
perceive the unreality of the threat, prolonged
feeling of tension, and exhaustive readiness for
the expected danger. See also basic anxiety, fear.
Anxiety disorder: A disorder in which anxiety is the
most prominent disturbance or in which the patient
experiences anxiety if he resists giving in to his
symptoms. In DSM-IV, the anxiety disorders
include phobic disorder, anxiety state, obsessive
compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and atypical anxiety disorder. See also anxiety
state. Avoidant disorder. Free floating anxiety.
Anxiety, free-floating: See free floating anxiety.
Anxiety, generalized: See free floating anxiety.
Anxiety state: A disorder characterized by panic and
anxious overconcern. Somatic symptoms are often
prominent. Also known as anxiety neurosis.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Anwesenheit: (German word, means presence) is the

experience in which the subject in clear
consciousness, suddenly becomes aware of the
presence of another person in the immediate
vicinity, although the subject may in reality be alone
or in the company of others. The extra person is
not seen, heard or felt. The identity is often
unknown but is sometimes felt to be a relative or
close friend. It may be found in bereavement,
temporal lobe epilepsy, sleep disorders, psychosis
and drug-induced states (such as ergot derivatives, lisuride and pergolide). It is also reported
by mountain climbers, polar explorers and ship
wrecked sailors during periods of prolonged stress
and physical danger, develop the feeling that an
extreme member is with them.
Apathy: Want of feeling or affect or interest or emotional
involvement in ones surroundings. It is observed
in certain type of schizophrenia and depression.
Aphagia: A lack of eating which can be experimentally
induced by lesions in the lateral hypothalamus.
Animals with aphagia show no interest in solid
food, to the point of starvation.
Aphasia: A disturbance in language function due to
organic brain disorder. The disturbance cannot be
explained on the basis of a defect in sensory
pathways, in motor mechanism of phonation and
articulation, or in sensorium. Aphasia may be
classified as receptive, expressive or mixed (global).
Specific types include (1) Motor (Brocas ) aphasia;
difficulty in speaking, with comprehension
preserved; (2) Sensory (Wernickes) aphasia;
impaired comprehension, with speech relatively
fluent (3) Conduction aphasia; preserved comprehension, with speech relatively fluent but with
difficulty in correlating output with input, as in
reading aloud or repeating spoken words (4) Anomic
aphasia; difficulty in naming objects.
Aphonia: Inability to produce normal speech sounds.
May be due to either organic or psychologic causes.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Apophanous idea: A delusional idea which suddenly

appears in consciousness with no previous preparation, it is known as an autochthonous or
sudden delusional idea.
Apophanous mood: A strange uncanny mood state in
which the patient feels that there is something
happening around him, but he does not know what
it is. A delusional mood.
Apophanous perception: A new significance is attributed
to a perception, usually is in the sense of selfreference in the absence of any emotional or
rational cause.
Apophany: A state in which one or more psychological
phenomena acquire a new delusional significance,
i.e., primary delusional experiences or experiences
of significance are occurring.
Apparent motion: A term used to describe visual
illusions which provide an appearance of movement even when no such movement is actually
occurring. Examples of this are found in the phi
phenomenon, the water fall effect, and stroboscopic stimuli.
Appeasement: A ritualized gesture (including vocalizations and scents of submission). It is commonly
the opposite of threat gestures such as crouching
which reduces apparent size and hides markings
of sex and species.
Apperception: Awareness of the meaning and
significance of a particular sensory stimulus as
modified by ones own experiences, knowledge,
thoughts and emotions. See also perception.
Appetitive behaviour: Behaviour which is directed
towards the satisfaction of some kind of desire,
want, or need.
Applied psychology: A general term used to classify
areas of psychology in which general theories are
put in use to deal with practical, non-laboratory
situations. Applied psychology traditionally
includes clinical psychology, educational psycho-

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


logy, industrial and occupational psychology but

also includes other fields where psychological
theories may be put to use such as environment
psychology or study skills.
Apprehension: (1) In colloquial terms, a feeling of
unease or dread concerning some future event
(2) In cognitive terms the mental grasping or full
comprehension of a concept or idea.
Approach-avoidance conflict: A pattern of behaviour
often seen when an organism is inclined or required
to approach something which has simultaneously
attractive and aversive qualities e.g., a parachute
jump. The individual tends to oscillate between
approach behaviour and avoidance behaviour,
with approach behaviour typically dominant when
the event or stimulus is more distant in time of
space, and avoidance becoming more characteristic
when the event or stimulus is closer.
Apraxia: Inability to perform a voluntary purposeful
motor activity. The inability cannot be explained
by paralysis or sensory impairment.
Aptitude: The ease with which a person will acquire a
new set of skills or abilities. An individual is said
to have an aptitude for a particular skill if she learns
that skill more rapidly and with more ease than
other individuals with the same prior knowledge
of it.
Aptitude test: A test to assess the ease with which a
person will acquire specified skills, i.e., a measure
of aptitude for some kind of competence. See also
attainment test.
Archetypes: Classic, powerful images which, according
to Carl Jung, are held in the collective unconscious
and recur frequently in folk art and mythology.
Examples of Jungian archetyes are: the earth
mother, the sea as a symbol of rebirth, the omnipotent father, the inaccessible virgin, the knave,
Arithmetical retardation: Specific disorder in which
the main feature is serious impairment in the


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

development of arithmetic skills which is not

explicable in terms of general mental retardation or
inadequate schooling synonyms: dyscalculia, developmental arithmetic disorder.
Arithmomania: Obsession with numbers.
Arousal: A state which the sympathetic division of the
autonomic nervous system is activated producing
an alarm reaction, or a longer-term response to
stress. Arousal is characterized by very high levels
of adrenaline in the blood stream, and results in a
general state of readiness to react in the organism.
Depending on cognitive and environmental
factors, this may result in anger, anxiety, exhilaration
excitement, or if the arousal is frequent and
prolonged and the energy is not dissipated by
regular demanding exercise, in long term stress
Art therapy: Treatment procedure that uses the
spontaneous creative work of the patient. For
example, group members make and analyze
drawings, which are often expressions of their
underlying emotional problems.
Articulation: (1) Clear verbal expressions (2) Free
movement through the action of a joint, sometimes
extended to mean the assembly of joints and levers
that make such movements possible, e.g., in
Artificial Intelligence (AI): Computer systems which
can reason, and which, it is hoped by those
involved, will eventually be able to produce the
same kinds of outcomes as produced by human
cognitive processes. Work on artificial intelligence
has tended to concentrate on: (a) knowledge-based
systems, known as expert systems, which are
capable of limited decision making on the basis of
input from a number of human experts; (b) manmachine interface research, such as the development of voice recognition systems; and (c) robotics,
the development of sensing and manipulation
processes. See also computer stimulation.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Ascetic syndrome: A syndrome, which appears in

adolescents and young adults, leading to psychosocial withdrawal, severe sexual abstinence,
practice of religious austerities, lack of concern
with personal appearance and considerable loss
of weight (J.S. Neki 1972).
Asch effect: A term used to describe conformity arising
through awareness that, if the individual stated
their own judgement, they would be responding
differently from the rest of the group, and that
others would be aware of that dissent. Aschs
studies of conformity involves a subject members
had been primed to give obviously wrong answers
to a relatively simple problem and the real subject
had to answer openly, after the majority had
Asch, Solomon Eliot: Born in 1907, in Warsaw, His work
has been seminal in the study of both conformity
and impression formation. In both areas he has
been concerned with how people make sense of
information they receive. Apart from halo effects
(a tendency for individuals judgements to be all in
a favourable or all in an unfavourable direction),
they also found the people were influenced by
reports of the opinions of a large number of people,
or the countrys leading psychologists. See Asch
Asneezia: It signifies absence of sneezing or inability
to sneeze, was described as a hitherto unrecognized
psychiatric symptom (Shukla, G.D., 1985). The
patients tended to be older, poorer and poorly
educated. The common psychiatric causes may be
schizophrenia, endogenous depression, neurotic
depression, hypochondriasis etc.
Asociality: An indifference to social values or customs,
withdrawal from society, as seen in a recluse or a
regressed schizophrenic.
Aspiration level: In a brilliant series of studies inspired
by Lewin, Dembo and Hoppe conducted some of


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

the first experimental studies in human motivation.

This believes that the experience of success and
failure depends upon the persons aspirations than
on some objective standard of performance.
Assertivenes training: A procedure in which subjects
are taught appropriate interpersonal responses
involving frank, honest, and direct expression of
feelings, both positive and negative.
Assimilation: One of two processes by which a schema
in Piagetian theory is considered to develop. New
information is said to have been assimilated when
it fitted into existing schema and so can be understood in relation to earlier learning. Assimilation
and accommodation are considered to be continuous cognitive processes, contributing to the
generalized process of adaptation. See also equilibration.
Association: The linking of one thing with another in
sequence. Associative learning which has been
acquired as a result of the connection of a stimulus
with a response.
Assortive mating: The tendency for organisms
(including humans) to select as sexual partners
those with characteristic similar to their own.
Assumption: An idea or set of ideas which is taken for
granted in the formulation of an argument or theory.
Astasia-abasia: Incoordination in the erect position,
and a resulting inability to stand or walk, with intact
capacity for leg movements while sitting or lying
down. In the absence of an organic lesion to the
central nervous system, astesia-abasia is usually
a manifestation of hysteria. Astasia, however can
be a sign of organic cerebral pathology, especially
involving the frontal lobes or corpus callosum.
Asthenic personality: A disorder characterized by lack
of enthusiasm, fatigability, lack of capacity for
enjoyment, and low tolerance for stress. Term
omitted from DSM-III. See also Adynamia,

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Asyndesis: A disorder of language commonly seen in

schizophrenia in which the patient combines
unconnected ideas and images.
Ataque or Puerto Rican syndrome: Often characterized
by anxiety, hyperventilation, and pseudoepileptic
movements. There may also be hallucinations,
screaming, some violence to others or the self, and
mutism. Generally the episode is self-limited and
may last only minutes. At other times, it is severe
and extends to a few days, thereby causing
difficulty in differentiating from acute schizophrenic episode or atypical psychosis.
Attachment: A close, emotionally meaningful relationship between two people in which each seeks
closeness with the other and feels more secure in
their presence. The attachment between mother
and infant has been extensively studied and some
writers apply the term only to the relationship of
the infant to the mother. Attachment has been the
subject of much research by John Bowlby. There
is now much evidence that the quality of attachments in infancy affects exploration and play in
the short term, and a wide range cognitive and
social functions throughout childhood. However,
it is no longer believed that infant always forms a
major attachment exclusively to the mother. See
also imprinting, monotropy.
Attachment disorder of infancy: The absence or
disruption of behaviours that serve to anchor the
infant to his mother and which produce abnormal
reactions in the infantss behaviour.
Attachment learning: The theory that the presence of
whom we are emotionally attached has a special
effect on how we learn, especially in infancy.
Attainment test: A test designed to assess the knowledge and skills which an individual has obtained,
either through experience or through following a
prescribed course of training. See also aptitude


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Attention: Concentration, the aspect of consciousness

that relates to the amount of effort exerted in
focusing on certain aspect of an experience activity
or task.
Attention deficit disorder: A DSM-III category for a
childhood mental disorder characterized by
developmentally inappropriate short attention
span and poor concentration. Hyperactivity
(hyperkinesis) may or not be present. The category
subsumes abnormal behaviour patterns that had
been referred to be a variety of name including
hyperactive child syndrome, strauss syndrome,
and minimal brain dysfunction. See also Hyperactivity, Minimal brain dysfunction.
Attenuation: (1) The shortening or limiting of an object
or event (2) A term used by Triesman to refer to the
weakening of a signal being processed, as an
essential part of a model of selective attention.
Attitude: A mental set held by an individual which
affects the ways that person responds to events
and organizes his cognitions. Attitudes are
commonly held to have three essential components
or dimensions: a cognitive dimension, involving
the beliefs and rationalizations which explains the
holding of the attitude; an affective dimension,
involving the emotional aspects of the attitude;
such as likes dislikes, feelings of distaste, or
affection and a conative, or behavioural dimension
which involves the extent to which the individual
is prepared to act on the attitude that he hold. See
also prejudice, stereotype.
Attraction: (1) In general usage (e.g., Berschied and
Walster 1978) it refers to a positive inner attitude
felt by one person towards another (2) According
to Byrne (1971) attraction refers specifically to
the linking expressed by a subject for a stranger
(3) Attraction also used to indicate growth of
linking during acquaintance (4) It refers to the whole
area of research into personal liking and hence to a
variety of different forms of relationships (e.g.,

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


friendship, courtship and marriage) without

concern for their possible differences in form,
intensity and expressive nature of liking.
Attribution: The process by which an event or the
behaviour of a person is understood in terms of
suggested motives or influences. The judgement
that a person or an event has a particular characteristic or quality.
Attributional error: The universal tendency to see
ones own behaviour (particularly when it has
undesirable consequences) as a rational response
to the situation and other peoples behaviour as
originating in their characters. So, when I crash
the car it is because of poor visibility and an icy
road; but I attribute my friends crash to the fact
that he is careless and impatient. This is also known
as the fundamental attribution error.
Attributional style: The theory that individuals tend
to believe in particular kinds of causes for a wide
range of effects. Styles may vary in the extent to
which they incline towards stable causes (ones
which are unlikely to change in the future), global
causes (affecting lots of things) and internal
external causes (such as character situation). So
of two people who have failed an exam, one may
attribute the cause to the room being noisy
(unstable, specific and external), while the other
may believe it is due to their being stupid (stable,
global and internal). Martin Seligman believes that
individuals who incline towards using a stable,
global and internal pattern of attributions may
become vulnerable to depression.
Attributional theory: An extensive and growing area
of social psychology dealing with the ways that
people attempt to account for their own and other
peoples behaviour. It is most concerned with the
kinds of causes by which people come to account
for their experiences-attributions about negative
life events are considered to be particularly


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

important. Although attribution theory has been

used to improve and extend helplessness theory
and is extensively used in cognition therapy
strictly, attribution theory deals with how people
come to have their beliefs about the causes of
events and behaviour, while attributional theory
deals with the different forms (or attributional
styles) that such beliefs may take. See also
Atypical: A term throughout DSM as an adjective to
describe unusual or uncharacteristic variations of
different mental disorders. Included are atypical
organic mental disorder, atypical psychosis, atypical
anxiety disorder, atypical somatoform disorder,
atypical dissociative disorder, atypical gender identity disorder, atypical paraphilia, atypical para noid
disorder, atypical psychosexual dysfunction,
atypical fictitious disorder with physical symptoms,
atypical impulse control disorder, adjustment disorder with atypical features, atypical personality
disorder, atypical conduct disorder, atypical eating
disorder, atypical tic disorder, atypical stereotyped
movements disorder and atypical developmental
Atypical child: A term describing a child with distorted
personality development; often used in connection
with brain-damaged or autistic children.
Atypical paranoid disorder: The DSM-III term for
alcohol paranoid state. See also Alcohol paranoid
Authenticity: Quality of being authentic, real and valid
in psychological functioning and personality, it
applies to the conscious feelings, perceptions and
thoughts that a person expresses and communicates. It does not apply to the deeper unconscious
layers of the personality.
Authoritarian personality: A specific, rigid pattern of
personality characterized by punitive approaches
to social sanctions and high levels of prejudice

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


towards outgroup members. Adorno showed that

the cognitive styles of highly prejudiced right wing
conservative had two distinctive traits (1) Rigidity
maintaining a belief system even in the face of direct
evidence showing that it is untrue or inefficient;
and (2) Intolerance of ambiguity a tendency takes
sides quickly and to be unable to cope with
equivocal positions. Adorono concluded that this
was due to defense mechanisms; highly prejudiced
individuals had to protect themselves against
ambiguities which might challenge their ideas. Also,
they had often been brought up by cold and highly
authoritarian parents producing a reaction formation; the child would displace its aggression
towards authority figures onto minority groups in
society. Adorno developed the F-scale (F for
fascism), which measured authoritarianism through
nine sub-traits. These were (1) Conventionalism
(2) Authoritarian submissiveness (3) Authoritarian
aggression (hostility towards those who challenge
Authoritative: A term used by Baumrind to describe a
style of parenting or child rearing in which children
are encouraged to participate in decision-making
and to express their opinions, but the parent nonetheless has the final authority. This was in contrast
with an authoritarian approach, in which the child
is not encouraged to express an opinion; or a laissez
faire approach in which the parent has little
involvement in the process of decision-making.
Authority figure: A real or projected person in a
position of power transferentially a projected
Authority principle: The idea that each member of an
organizational hierarchy tries to comply with the
presumed or fantasized wishes of those above him
while those below him try to comply with his wishes.
Autistic thinking: A form of thinking in which the
thoughts are largely narcissistic and egocentric,
with emphasis on subjectivity, rather than objecti-


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

vity and without regard for reality the term is used

interchangeably with autism and derelism. See also
infantile autism, narcissism.
Autism: (1) Thought and fantasy determined entirely
by the persons needs and wishes and not constrained by reality in any way. Daydreams are autistic,
but the term is usually reserved for the more
extreme and permanent removal from reality of
schizophrenic thoughts. (2) A serious disorder
appearing towards the end of infancy, in which the
child withdraws from all social contact, which seems
to be aversive and distressing. Activity is directed
towards inanimate objects and may give evidence
of quite high intelligence, but speech is usually
minimal. Although it is often called infantile autism,
or childhood autism, the condition can persist
throughout the persons life. There is little agreement about cause, although a majority of those
who work in the area probably believe in an organic
predisposition and even less agreement about
treatment. See also infantile autism.
Autochthonous: A term used to describe a state arising
primarily from events within the individual such
as thirst, or hunger.
Autoerotism: A term used to onset without the
participation of another person. The term,
introduced by Havelock Ellis is at present used
interchangeably with masturbation. It is also called
autoeroticism. In psychoanalysis, autoerotism is
considered a primitive phase in object relationship
development preceding the narcissistic stage. In
narcissism there is a love object in autoerotism.
Auto-erotism, erotic: Refer either to pleasurable activity
in which the self is used as an object (e.g.,
Masturbation, Thumb sucking) or to a libidinal
attitude, orientation or stage of development. In
the former case, the words are being used
objectively to describe observable behaviour, in
the latter they are being used inferentially to
describe a hypothesis about the patients or infants

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


disregard of external object. According to classical

instinct theory infants are autoerotically oriented
i.e., their attitude towards their mother is based
solely on self-love and their need for her is based
on her capacity to provide them with gratification.
When used is this sense autoerotic is synonymous
with narcissistic (see Narcissism.) object theory is
opposed to the idea of an autoerotic phase in
infancy and takes the view that the infant is motherrelated from the very beginning, that to quote
Fairbairn (1952) the infant is object-seeking not
pleasure seeking. According to this view autoerotic
behaviour is substitutive, the subject using a part
of himself as a symbolic equivalent of someone
Autogenic: Originating from the self; self-initiated e.g.,
autogenic training in which the individual is
training to have internal control of their own
Autohypnosis: Hypnosis which has been self-induced.
Many forms of hypnotherapy concentrate on the
development of the individuals own skills in
autohypnosis, so that they can develop strategies
for coping with stressful events.
Autokinetic effect: A visual illusion involving the
apparent motion of a stationary dot of light, when
it is perceived in a totally dark environment. The
light appears to move in rapid jerks.
Automatic obedience: The phenomenon of undue
compliance with instruction, a feature of command
automatism associated with catatonic syndromes
and the hypnotic state.
Automatic writing: Writing that is performed without
conscious awareness by the writer. It is usually
elicited under hypnosis, but it can be produced by
sitting undisturbed for a long period and writing
continuously with no attempt to control what is
produced. After several hours the product may, or
may not, give an uncensored glimpse into the


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Automatism: Automatic and apparently undirected

non-purposive behaviour that is not consciously
controlled. Seen in the psychomotor epilepsy.
Automysophobia: Fear of smelling bad or of being
Autonomous dysthymia: A depressive illness in which
the mood is qualitatively changed and in which
early morning awakening, diurnal mood variation,
and overvalued or delusional ideas associated with
the parents basic worries usually occur. The illness
may or may not be some external, but once it begins
its course is relatively independent of the causal
event and the environment.
Autonomous morality:The third of Kohlbergs three
stages of moral development, in which the
individual is considered to have reached a point
where she arrives at moral judgements and
decisions on the basis of her own reasoning, rather
than simply by accepting the ideas laid down by
society. In the first level of this stage, the individual
accepts social rules and moral codes because she
consideres them to have been democratically
established for the common good; in the second
level a more individual judgement is achieved and
the person may eventually come to reject some
commonly accepted social values which she feels
to be unjust or immoral.
Autonomy: A state of independence and self-determination in the individual, considered to be the
ultimate goal of humanistic and existentialist
Autoplasty: Adaptation to stress by changing intrapsychic processes. See also Alloplasty.
Auxilliary ego: In psychodrama, a person, usually a
member of the staff, trained to act out different
roles during a psychodramatic session to intensify
the therapeutic situation. The trained auxiliary ego
may represent an important figure in the patients
life. He may express the patients unconscious

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


wishes and attitudes or portray his unacceptable

self. He may represent a delusion, hallucination,
symbol, ideal, animal or object that makes the
patients psychodramatic world real, concrete and
Auxiliary therapist: Co-therapist. See also Co-therapy.
Average: A central value in a frequency distribution
around which other values are distributed . Three
kinds of averages are the mode, the median and
the mean.
Aversive therapy: A form of behaviour therapy that
involves the repeated coupling of an unpleasant
or painful stimulus, such as an electric shock, with
an undesirable behaviour pattern in an effort to
eliminate the undesirable behaviour. It is also
known as aversive conditioning.
Avoidance learning: The training of behaviour through
a process of negative reinforcement, such that an
aversive stimulus fails to take place in the behaviour
is demonstrated. Avoidance learning is extremely
resistant to extinction.
Avoidant disorder: In DSM-III, a term was used for a
disorder of childhood or adolescence characterized
by a persistent or excessive shrinking from
strangers. In DSM-II, this condition was called
withdrawing reaction.
Avoidant personality disorder: A personality disorder
characterized by low self-esteem, hypersensitivity
to rejection, and social withdrawal but a desire for
affection and acceptance.
Awareness: A subjective state of being alert or conscious; cognizant of information received from the
immediate environment.
Aypnia: Insomnia; inability to sleep.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Babbling: Vocalizations produced by infants, which
include the full range of human phonemes. In verbal behaviour, Skinner argued that language acquisition occurred as a result of behaviour shaping,
with infant babbling as the operants, conditioned
through the law of effect.
Baby talk: The style of speech adopted by adults when
talking to a baby, also called motherese.
Backward conditioning: A variant of classical
conditioning in which the unconditioned stimulus
(UCS) precedes the conditioned stimulus (CS).
There is not yet agreement over whether backward
conditioning is possible. If it can occur, it is
certainly difficult to achieve. See also trace conditioning, simultaneous conditioning, delayed
Bad: When qualifying Object? Breast, Penis, Mother,
Father, this referees to one of the two images or
object-representations formed by splitting of the
internalized object, breast etc. Bad in this context
is omnibus word embracing frustrating, hateful,
malevolent, persecuting,. It is sometimes printed
bad in quotes.
Bad trip: A colloquialism for an acute panic reaction
occurring is an unwanted adverse effect of hallucinogenic drugs, usually characterized by fear of
death and of insanity and by various other
abnormal experiences. e.g., distortions of body
image, or sensations of breathlessness or

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


paralysis. The reaction is extremely unpleasant but

usually short lived and varies in intensity,
occasionally leading to accidents and suicide
attempts. See also: hallucinogens abuse.
Balance therapy: A theory put forward by Helder,
suggesting that we need to maintain a state of
cognitive equilibrium between the different attitudes that we hold, and that our social cognitions
would, if necessary, become modified in order to
create or perpetuate such a balance. Cognitive
dissonance is a later variant of the theory.
Balanced design: An experimental design in which
sources of variation such as practice, fatigue or
sex of subjects are balanced so that they will not
be responsible for differences between the groups.
Balanced scale: A test or questionnaire in which
sources of basis in the items are counterbalanced.
For example half of the items should be true and
half false, so that any tendency to prefer to answer
yes does not distort the outcome.
Bandura, Albert: Born in 1925 in Alberta, Canada. He
contributed by studying the causes of aggression
social learning theory. Observational learning
modeling self-efficacy and self-inefficacy.
Bandwagon effect: The tendency that all people have
to believe a claim or hold an attitude if they believe
that most other members of their group have that
Barnum effect: An effect named after the circus
entrepreneur, T.P. Barnum, whose motto in dealing
with the gullible public was there a fool born every
minute. Used to describe the widespread acceptance of certain common beliefs, e.g., astrological
predictions which are written in such general terms
that they can be readily applied to anyone, but
which are read by the credulous as being an exact
description of their own individual character or
circumstance. In cognitive terms, if refers to the


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

tendency for people to engage in selective perception, noticing only what they wish to believe
and ignoring that which does not accord with their
Basal age: On tests graded by age, the highest age
level up to which all of the items are passed. May
be called basal mental age in intelligence testing.
Baseline: A stable and reliable level of performance
that can be used as a basis for assessing changes
in behaviour caused by the introduction of an
independent variable.
Basic anxiety: As conceptualized by Karen Horney the
main spring from which neurotic trends get their
intensity and pervasiveness. Basic anxiety is characterized by vague feelings of loneliness, helplessness, and fear of a potentially hostile world. See
also Anxiety, Fear.
Basic fault: Term used by Balint (1952) to describe an
aspect of the pathology of a certain type of patient
whose whole development has been faulty and
false. According to Balint, the basic fault can only
be overcome if the patient is allowed to regress to
a state of oral dependence on the analyst (see
also oral) and experience a new beginning. The
metaphor is presumably geological not moral.
Basic needs: The most compelling human needs such
as food and the avoidance of pain. In Maslows
theory are at the base of a hierarchy of needs and
other requirements, even for physical safety, will
be ignored until they are satisfied.
Basic rule: The basic of fundamental rule of
psychoanalysis governs the patient and not the
analyst and is the injection that he do his best to
tell the analyst whatever comes into his mind
without reservation. The rule is a counsel of
perfection, Resistance and Defence manifestating
themselves clinically by failures to carry it out. See
Free Association.
Basic trust: The development in an infant of total trust

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


that the mother will provide for, protect and not

harm the infant. It is the first of Eriksons eight
stages of man, and is proposed as the most
important task that the infant must complete. It is
achieved as a result of the security provided by
good mothering.
Bateson, Gregory (19041980): His studies on the
processes of communication in mental disorder are
fundamental. He also applied his anthropological
expertise to psychiatry.
Battered baby: A term coined by C. Henry Kempe in
1962 in a paper which first alerted the medical
profession to the widespread existence of infant
who had been injured by their parents. See also
child abuse.
Bayley infant development scales: Measures of infant
development which assess infants (230 months)
on mental and motor tasks. First development in
the 1920s based on the work of Gesell, but still the
most widely used infant assessment. The norms
are based on normal infant and rely heavily on the
ability of the infant to perform motor tasks, but the
scale is now used almost exclusively to test children
with motor impairments.
Beard, George M. (18391883): American psychiatrist
who in 1869 introduced the term neurasthenia.
Beers, Clifford W. (18761943): Author of A Mind
That Found Itself (1909) the book that is generally
considered to have founded the mental hygiene
movement, now the National Mental Health
Behaviour: The movements or actions which a person
or animal performs. If something is referred to as
behaviour it means that it is only concerned with
actual behaviour, and not, for instance, with any
cognitive aspects of a performance.
Behaviour, adaptive: Any behaviour that increases an
organisms ability to adjust to a specific environment or situation.
Behaviour disorder: A general term used to cover a
wide range of psychological disorders in which


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

the behaviour of the person is the major concern.

More specifically it applies to conditions such as
psychopathy, addictions and hyperactivity. One
feature of behaviour disorders is that they usually
involve symptoms which are likely to bring the
sufferer into conflict with society.
Behaviour genetics: The study of the ways in which
an individuals genetic constitution contributes to
the determination of behaviour.
Behaviour therapy/behaviour modification: Methods
developed to alleviate psychological disorders
which focus on changing behavioural problems
by using techniques of classical conditioning,
instrumental conditioning, operant conditioning
and observational learning.
Behavioural assessment: An approach to the study of
personality based on the direct observation of
behaviour and the conditions under which certain
behaviour occur.
Behavioural medicine: Psychological treatments
designed to help people cope with physical health
Behavioural perspective: A current viewpoint in
psychology which has its roots in the older school
of behaviourism; the emphasis is on the description, control and understanding of what people
and animals do their behaviour.
Behavioural ritualistic: Automatic behaviour of
cultural or psychogenic origin.
Behaviour science: A scientific discipline dealing with
any aspect of human behaviour, including
interpersonal relationship, development, view and
values experiences and activities. The behavioural
sciences include sociology, psychology, anthropology and ethology.
Behaviour shaping: The production of novel behaviours through the systematic adjustment of
reinforcement contingencies. In other words, by
rewarding simple behaviours until they are
established in the organisms repertoire of actions,

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


and then rewarding only those variants of it which

produce behaviour which is even closer to the
desired outcome. Once that intern is established
as a frequent behaviour pattern, only behaviour
which is even closer to the desired outcome will be
Behaviour therapy: (a) A psychiatric treatment modality
that focuses on overt and objectively observable
behaviour and uses various conditioning
techniques derived form learning theory to modify
the patients behaviour directly. Behaviour therapy
aims exclusively at symptomatic improvement,
without addressing psychodynamic cauzation. A
major worker in the field was Joseph Wolpe, who
developed and popularized the technique of
systematic desensitization. See also Assertiveness
training, Aversive therapy, Behaviourism, Conditioning, Flooding, Implosion, Reciprocal inhibition
and desensitization, shaping, symptoms substitution, systematic desensitization (b) Behaviourism:
The school of psychological thought founded by
John B. Waston in 1913 that regards only measurable and observable behaviour as the appropriate
subject matter for human psychology. It holds that
human behaviour can be described in terms of
lawful principles that do not require consideration
of unobservable mental events, such as ideas and
emotions. See also behaviour therapy.
Beliefs: Cognitions, or thoughts, about the characteristics of objects.
Belle Indifference: Psychiatric diagnostic term
describing the indifference with which Hysterical
patients often seem to view conversion symptoms
(see conversion hysteria) which should, on the
face of it, be extremely distressing.
Bells Mania: Acute delirious mania; probably a severe
attack of mania with delirium due to exhaustion,
malnutrition, drugs or intercurrent infection.
Belongingness and love needs: Needs for affection,
affiliation and identification. In Maslaws theory


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

they are fulfilled after physiological and safety

needs are satisfied.
Bender: Alcoholic jargon for a period of continuous
drinking which lasts for a few days and stops
because of money or physical exhaustion.
Bender Gestalt Test: A psychological test that measures
the subjects ability to reproduce a set of geometric
designs. It is useful for measuring vasomotor
coordination and thus for detecting brain damage.
Bender, Lauretta (18971985): American psychiatrist
who has done extensive work in the fields of child
psychiatry, neurology and psychology.
Bereavement: Feeling of grief or desolation, especially
at the death or loss of a loved one.
Berne, Eric (19101970): American psychiatrist who
founded transactional analysis, which is used in
both individual and group therapy. See also Ego
state, Transaction, Transactional analysis.
Bestiality: Sexual deviation in which a person engages
in sexual relations with an animal. See also
Between group variance: A measure of the variation
found among the means of a number of samples.
The measure is divided by the within groups
variance to give an F-ratio. These measures are
usually computed within an analysis of variance.
See also variance.
Biased sample: An error in the way that a particular
sample has been selected, which results in that
sample not being representative of the population
as whole.
Biblioclast: One who destroys or mutilates books.
Bilingualism: The individuals who possess sufficient
skills in a second language to permit a significant
part of their social and/or intellectual activities to
be conducted through the medium of the language.
An important field of research is that of bilingualism

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


in children, in particular how they affect their

general learning capacities.
Biodynamics: System of psychoanalytic psychiatry
introduced by J.H. Masserman.
Biofeedback: Provision of information to a subject regarding one or more of his physiological processes in
the effort to enable the subject to gain some element
of voluntary control over bodily functions that normally operate outside consciousness. See also
Learned automatic control.
Biological clock: The idea that organisms contain a
mechanism which maintains a fairly constant rate
and which is responsible for controlling biological
rhythms such as the sleep wake cycle. See biorhythm, circadian rhythm.
Biological determinism: The argument that human
nature or human characteristics arise an inevitable
consequence of human biological characteristics
(See also reductionism).
Biological perspective: A current viewpoint in psychology in which the aim is to relate behaviour to
functions of the body, the nervous and gendular
systems in particular.
Biological rhythm: Periodic variation in physiological
functions. A circadian rhythm shows a periodicity
of about 24 hours. An ultradian rhythm has a cycle
shorter than 1 day. An infradian rhythm is longer
than 1 day.
Biopsychology: The study of the biological sources of
individual functioning. The term usually has a
slightly different emphasis at psychobiology but
there is no universally agreed meaning for either
Bipolar affective disorder: An effective disorder in
which the patient exhibits both manic and depressive episodes.
Birth cry: A reflex cry which signals the start of
breathing immediately after birth. It is possible for
breathing to start without a birth cry.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Birth trauma: An attempt to explain psychological

disturbance as resulting from the trauma of being
born. Proposed by Otto Rank in the early days of
psychoanalysis but was largely abandoned.
Revived more recently in relation to concern about
the technological nature of current methods of
managing birth.
Bisexuality: Existence of the qualities of both sexes in
the same person. Freud postulated that biologically
and psychologically the sexes differentiated from
a common core the differentiation between the two
sexes was relative, rather than absolute and that
regression to the common core occurs to varying
digress in both normal and abnormal conditions.
An adult person who engages in bisexual
behaviour is one who is sexually attracted to and
has sexual contact with members of both sexes. He
is also known in lay terms as an AC-DC person.
See also Androgyny, Heterosexuality, Homosexuality. Latent Homosexuality, Overt homosexuality.
Biswanger, Otto: (18521929) German neurologist and
psychiatrist; originated concept of presenile
Bit: A term used in information theory to define a unit
of information. A bit of information is not a vague
amount but is precisely defined as the amount
requires to choose between two equal alternatives;
it halves the uncertainly. So if you were searching
for a randomly chosen word in this dictionary. One
bit would tell you which half it was in two bits
would narrow it to a quarter and three bits to an
eighth. Twelve bits would identify a specific word
out of 4096. The word bit is an abbreviation of
binary digit.
Black box: A term used to describe an approach to
psychological theory in which the internal workings of the organism are regarded as unknowable,
as if they take place inside a black box. One is left
with the options of either (1) guessing what is going
on in the box by observing the relationships

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


between inputs to the box and its consequent

behaviour, or (2) claiming that it is not important to
know that goes on in the box, and that only the
relationships between input and behaviour should
be studied. The second approach was the one
chosen by the behaviourists.
Blackout: In Britain, this word usually means a loss of
consciousness or a loss of memory. As a technical
term, it designates a loss of memory occurring after
a few drinks of hard liquor, not sufficient to produce
drunkenness. This marks the onset of the prodromal stage of alcohol dependence and is also known
as a palimpsest.
Black patch syndrome: A psychosis induced by
sensory deprivation as a result of eye patches used
after cataract surgery.
Blank screen: Neutral blackdrop on which the patient
projects a gamut of transferential irrationalities. The
passivity of the analyst allows him to act as a blank
Bleuler, Eugen (18571939): Swiss psychiatrist
known for his important studies in schizophrenia,
which term he preferred over the earlier term
dementia praecox. See also Affect, blunted;
Altruism, Ambivalence; schizophrenia.
Blind spot: In psychiatry as area of a persons personality of which he is totally unaware. The unperceived areas are repressed, since their recognition
would arouse painful or unpleasant emotions. In
the course of group of individual psychotherapy,
such blind spots often appear obliquely as projected ideas, intentions and emotions. See also
projection, Scotoma.
Blocking: Interruption of a train of speech before a
thought or idea has been completed. After a period
of silence, which may last from a few seconds to
minutes the person indicates that he or she cannot
recall what he or she has been saying or meant to
say. Blocking should be judged to be present only
if the person spontaneously describes losing his


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

or her thought or if upon questioning by the

interviewer, the person gives that as the reason for
Blood brain barrier: An interface of the capillaries
supplying blood to the brain with certain types of
glial cells, namely astrocytes. This is a mechanism
which interferes with or selectively prevents certain
types of chemicals borne in the circulatory system
from entering the brain. In general lipid soluble
chemicals cross this barrier more readily than do
water soluble substances.
Blunted affect: See Affect, blunted.
Body centered therapy: A relatively new term referring
to a host of therapies whose common goal is the
altering of self-image or personality through work
with the physical body, either exclusively or as a
major component of the therapy. The common
therapies are bioenergetics (Rolfing), Feldenkrais
method. Body centered psychotherapy (Hakoni
method), Psychomotor therapy (Albert Pesos),
Lomi work (Robert Hall et al.), the Alexander
technique (Alexander, F.M.) also, related peripherally are dance and movement therapies and
the traditional approaches like Hatha Yoga and
such oriental martial art as Tai Chi Ackado and Tai
Kwando Body contact exploration maneuver: See
Rough manuscript.
Body contact exploration maneuver: Any physical
touching of another person for the purpose of becoming more aware of the sensations and emotions
aroused by the experience. The tech- nique is used
mainly in encounter groups.
Body image: The idea that individual has of what their
body is like. There is evidence of a physiological
basis for a body image at birth, but an infant must
learn which parts of the universe are not part of its
own body. Later the body image extends beyond a
representation of the body and comes to reflect an
evaluation of bodily characteristics. The normal
pattern is to overestimate such characteristics as

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


head size and attractiveness. The body image is

an important part of the self image.
Body language: A general term used to describe those
aspects of non-verbal communication (NVC) which
involve direct use of the body, such as gesture,
posture and proxemics.
Body schema: The body schema is the internal
representation which the individual has of his own
body. According to Piaget, the very first schemes
formed by the infant develops from the first menot me distinction. For the older person it includes
ideas and memories of how the body is, has been
and could be.
Bonding: The attachment and unity of two people
whose identities are significantly affected by their
mutual interactions. Bonding often refers to the
attachment between mother and her child.
Bonhoeffer, Kart: (18681949) Berlin psychiatrist;
symptomatic (organic) psychoses, acute exogenous reaction. Bonhoeffers sign is the loss of
normal muscle tone in chorea.
Borderline mental retardation: A condition in which
the patient has an I.Q. of 70 to 80. See also Mental
Borderline personality disorder: A personality disorder
classified in DSM marked by instability in various
Borderline state: A state in which the symptoms are so
unclear or transient that it is difficult to classify
the patient as psychotic or nonpsychotic. It is also
known as borderline psychosis.
Boredom: The emotion that ensues when an individual
fails to find interests and activities which fully
engage him. It may arise either as a external result
of external limitations, e.g., solitary confinement,
sensory deprivation, or monotonous work, as a
result of internal inhibition. According to Fenichel
(1954), neurotic boredom is a state of instinctual
tension (See also instinct) in which the instinctual
aim is missing. As a result the bored person seeks


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

an object not in order to act upon it with his

instinctual aim which he lacks. He knows he wants
something but does not know what it is hence the
irritability and restlessness inseparable from
boredom and absent in Apathy.
Bottomup processing: Perceptual processing which is
initiated by the characteristics of the stimulus and
leads on to higher forms of cognitive activity, as
opposed to top down processing which begins
from the higher levels.
Bouquet de maladies: The distinctive odour said to be
characteristic of psychiatric patient.
Bovarism: Failure to differentiate phantasy and reality.
Bovina fames: (L. oxlikehunger) Bulimia.
Bradykinesia: Slowness of motor activity with a
decrease in normal spontaneous movement.
Bradylalia: Abnormally slow speech, common in
Bradylexia: Inability to read at normal speed.
Brain: A general term to describe the complex of neural
structures developed at the forward end of the
spinal cord. In casual usage however, many psychologists refer to the brain when in fact they mean
the cerebrum, or the cerebral cortex (e.g., split brain
studies). Whether the whole brain or simply the
cerebrum is meant must be deduced from the
Brain electrical activity mapping (BEAM): Computer
enhanced analysis and display of electro-encephalographic and evoked response studies, a stimulus
(e.g., flashing light) is presented to the patient and
the responses are recorded electrically from scalp
electrodes. Computers translate the information
into a topographic, coloured display of electrical
activity over the surface of the brain. Useful in
diagnosing seizure disorder and seems to be helpful
in looking at a typical psychiatric presentation. See
also brain imaging.
Brain imaging: Any technique that permits the in-vivo
visualization of the substance of the central nervous
system. The best known of such techniques is

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


computerized axial tomography (CT), commonly

called the CAT scan. However, two newer methods
of brain imaging, positron emission tomography
(PET) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
also yield a series of two-dimensional images (or
slices) of brain regions of interest. A number of
other related techniques, such as ultrasound,
angiography in its various forms, radionuclide
scans, regional cerebral blood flow (RCBF)
measurements, brain electrical activity maping
(BEAM) and its variant and even the older
pneumoencephalogram (PEG) also provide images
of some aspect of the central nervous system, but
are generally more limited in the structure
visualized in degree or some other parameter, than
CT, PET and MRI.
Brain storming: A technique for developing new ideas,
commonly used in advertising work and other
problem-solving situation. A group undertakes a
period of intensive concentration in which any idea
at that comes to mind-regardless of how apparently
inappropriate it might be-is noted. There is an agreement but to reject or ridicule any suggestion. At
the end of the period of time, all the ideas thus
generated are examined for their potential values
as a solution to the problem in hand. Some recent
research indicates that groups will produce more
ideas if the individuals work on their own and then
pool their suggestions.
Brainwashing: The technique of operating total control
over a persons environment with a consistent
application of deprivation, debilitation and dread
(the three Ds), so that the victim become amenable
to adopting a completely new belief system or
ideology. The process may depend on some form
of identification. It usually refers to systematic
efforts to indoctrinate non-believers.
Brain waves: Overall electrical activity of the brain which
can be detected outside the skull by an electroencephalogram.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Breeder hypothesis: Given by Farris and Dunham in

1939 that low social class leads to schizophrenia.
Breuer, Josef (18421925): Viennese physician with
wide scientific and cultural interests. His collaboration with Freud in studies of cathartic therapy
was reported in studies on Hysteria (1895). He
withdrew as Freud proceeded to introduce psychoanalysis, but he left important ideas on that
discipline, such as the concepts of the primary and
secondary processes.
Bribe: In psychoanalysis a compromise. The symptoms
of a neurosis are regarded as symbolic repressed
Brief psychotherapy: A form of psychotherapy in which
the sessions are limited to 10 to 15 in number and
during which time attempts to modify behaviour
occur. The approach is used in both individual and
group settings.
Brief reactive psychosis: A DSM category for a
psychosis of less than 1 weeks duration with
sudden onset after a major stress.
Brigham, Amariah (17981849): One of the original
thirteen founders of the American Psychiatric
Association (1844) and the founder and first editor
of its official journal, now the American Journal of
Brill, A.A. (18741948): First American analyst (1908):
Freud gave him permission to translate several of
his most important works. He was active in the
formation of the New York in the forefront of
propagators of psychoanalysis as a lecturer and
Briquets syndrome: See Somatization disorder.
Brooding compulsion: See Intellectualization.
Bruxism: Grinding of the teeth, occurs unconsciously
while awake or during stage 2 sleep. May be
secondary to anxiety, tension or dental problems.
Bulimia: Episodic eating binges or excessive intake of
food or fluid, generally beyond voluntary control.
Characteristic are self-induced vomiting and

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


purging following eating, which is of the binge

eating variety. The resulting loss of body fluids
and electrolytes may lead to severe disturbance
such as EKG abnormalities and tetany. Sometimes
seen as a symptom in anorexia nervosa.

Fig. 1. Classification of Body Build

Burned out schizophrenic: A chronic schizophrenic

who is apathetic and withdrawn, with minimal florid
psychotic symptoms but with persistent and often
severe schizophrenic thought processes. He is also
known as an anergic schizophrenic.
Burnout: A stress reaction developing in person working
in an area of unrelenting occupational demands.
Symptoms include impaired work performance,
fatigue, insomnia, depression, increased susceptibility to physical illness and reliance on alcohol or
other drugs of abuse for temporary relief.
Burrow, Trigant L. (18751951): American student
of Freud and Jung who coined the term group
analysis and later developed a method called
phyloanalysis. Much of Burrows work was based
on his social views and his opinion that individual
psychotherapy places the therapist in too authoritarian a role to be therapeutic. He formed groups


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

of patients, students and colleagues who living

together in a camp, analyzed their interactions. See
also consensual validation, Lifwynn foundation,
Phyloanalysis, Third nervous system.
Bystander apathy: A rather moralistic label applied by
social psychologists to the phenomenon that
onlookers fail help in emergencies even though
they may be upset by what is happening. Concern
about bystander was aroused by the case of kitty
Genovese who was stabbed to death in New York
in 1964.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


C.A.: Abbreviation for chronological age. See also
Intelligence quotient.
Cacedemonomania: A condition in which the patient
thinks he is possessed by a devil or other evil spirit.
Cacergasia: Inadequate functioning of body or mind.
Cachinnation: Inordinate laughter without apparent
cause; it is common in hebephrenic schizophrenia.
Cacosomnia: Sleeplessness.
Cacothymia: Any mental affection with depravation of
the morals.
Camptocormia: (Kamptos, curved, kormos, trunk) it
constitutes a rare psychogenic syndrome characterized by a frontal flexion of the vertebral column
with passive dropping of both arms a variable
degree of genuflexion, producing a simian appearance. Unsteady gait is often found. Souques (1916)
and Rosanoff-Saloff (1916) were first report the
cases in French soldiers.
Cannabis: See Marihuana.
Cannon-Bard theory: A theory of emotion put forward
in the 1920s in which it was stated that the psychological experience of emotion, and the physiological
reactions produced by the body (see autonomic
nervous system) were completely independent of
one another. Compare James-Lange theory, interactionism, and see also alarm reaction.
Capgras syndrome (delusion of doubles): Belief that a
person known to the patient has been replaced by


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

an exact double. Usually the person implicated is a

close relative, particularly spouse. The common
causes are functional psychiatric disorders (schizophrenia, paranoid state, affective disorders etc.)
and organic illnesses (temporal lobe epilepsy, brain
tumor, delirium etc.).
Cardiac neurosis: A group of cardiovascular symptoms,
frequently associated with dysfunctions in other
physiological systems, presenting as autonomic
manifestations of an anxiety state. Common
complaints like palpitations, thoracic apical pain,
breathlessness, dizziness on postural change or
effort, sweating and flushes and fatigue, may the
underlying anxiety and panic attacks. The syndrome
was first described during military campaigns in
the 19th and early 20th centries and has been
known under a variety of names e.g., irritable heart
(Da Costa, 1871), effort syndrome (Lewis, 1917)
and neurocirculatory asthenia (Oppenheimer,
1918) Synonyms: Cardiovascular neurosis: Da
Costas syndrome: effort phonia; effort syndrome;
irritable heart; neurocirculatory asthenia; soldiers
Care and protection proceedings: Intervention by court
on behalf of a child when the parents or caretakers
provide inadequately for the childs welfare.
Carebaria: Senzation of discomfort or pressure in the
Caregiver: Any person involved in the identification
or prevention of illness or in the treatment or
rehabilitation of the patient; includes the psychiatrist and other members of the traditional treatment
team as well as community workers and other nonprofessionals.
Caretaker: A general term given to refer to the person
who looks after a child thus avoiding the assumptions inherent in the use of terms like mother or
parent, and allowing for a wider range of possibilities. Despite the apparent opposite, the term
caregiver is used with identical meaning.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Castration: Removal of the sex organs. In psychologic

terms, the fantasized loss of the genitals. Also used
figuratively to denote state of impotence, powerlessness, helplessness or defeat.
Castration complex: In psychoanalytic theory, a group
of unconscious thoughts and motives that are
referable to the fear of losing the genitals, usually
as punishment for forbidden sexual desires.
Castration threat anxiety: A Freudian concept, referring
to the anxiety experienced by the young boy during
the Oedipus complex. As the young boys sexual
interest is directed towards his mother, and his father
is perceived as a rival for the mothers love, and the
child develops fear that the father (being bigger and
more powerful than he) may deal with the competition by castrating him. See also phallic stage.
Catalepsy: Condition in which a person maintains the
body position which he is placed. It is a symptom
observed in severe cases of catatonic schizophrenia. It is also known as waxy flexibility and cerea
flexibilities. See also command automatism.
Cataphasia: See Verbigeration.
Cataplexy: Temporary sudden loss of muscle tone,
causing weakness and immobilization. It can be
precipitated by a variety of emotional states, and it
is often followed by sleep.
Catastrophic anxiety: The anxiety associated with
organic mental disorders when the patient is aware
of his defects in mentation. The anxiety can be
Catastrophic stress: A reaction to exceptionally severe
physical or mental stress, characterized by a
breakdown of coping behaviour, intense anxiety
and shock. The term has also been applied to the
state of agitation and helplessness exhibited by
patients with cerebral damage when confronted
with tasks beyond their competence (Goldstein,
18781965) See also acute reactions to stress.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Catastrophe theory: A mathematical theory which deals

with changes of state which are sudden, substantial
and not easily reversible. Like walking off a cliff.
Many psychological phenomena look this, with
examples ranging from spontaneous reversal of
perception of a Necker cube, through experiences
of insight (aha) to the sudden onset of a phobia. It
is always difficult to record significant psychological phenomena in a form that can be entered
into a mathematical equation and we do not know
whether catastrophe theory will be useful to psychology.
Catathymia: A situation in which elements in the
unconscious are sufficiently affect laden to produce
changes in conscious functioning.
Catathymic crisis: A suddenly occurring isolated and
nonrepetitive act that develops from a state of intolerable tension.
Catatonic behaviour: Marked motor anomalies,
generally limited to disturbances in the context of
a diagnosis of a non-organic psychotic disorder.
Catatonic excitement: Excited motor activity, apparently purposeless and not influenced by external
Catatonic negativism: An apparently motiveless resistance to all instructions or attempts to be moved,
when passive, the person may resist any effort to
be moved; when active he or she may do the
opposite of what is asked-for example, firmly clench
jaws when asked to open mouth.
Catatonic posturing: Voluntary assumption of an
inappropriate or bizarre posture, usually held for a
long period of time. Example: A patient may stand
with arms outstretched as if he were Jesus on the
Catatonic rigidity: Maintenance of a rigid posture
against all efforts to be moved.
Catatonic stupor: Marked decrease in reactivity to
environment or/and reduction in spontaneous
movements and activity, sometimes to the point of
appearing to be unaware of ones surroundings.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Catatonic waxy flexibility: The persons limbs can be

moulded into any position, which is than
maintained. When the limb is being moved, it feels
to the examiner as if it were made of pliable wax.
Catchment area: A geographic area for which a mental
health program or facility has responsibility for
its residents.
Categorical Attitude: See abstract attitude.
Catharsis: Release of ideas, thoughts and represses
materials from the unconscious accompanied by
an affective emotional response. It is commonly
observed in the course of both individual and group
psychotherapy, See also Abreaction, Converzational catharsis, Repression.
Cathexis: In psychoanalysis, a conscious or unconscious investment of psychic energy in an idea, a
concept, an object or a person.
Cattell Infant Intelligence Scale: Psychological test
assessing general motor and cognitive development in infants aged 3 months to 2.5 years.
Causalgia: Burning pain that may be either organic or
psychic in origin.
Causality: The conception that events can be explained
as the necessary consequences of prior events
the latter being the causes and the former the
effects. Psychoanalysis is generally regarded as a
causal theory, since it explains present events,
symptoms, etc., in term of the prior experiences of
the subject. Its habit of explaining of the present
Conscious mental event in terms of the conception
of causality since it is assumed that the unconscious cause was there first and contains the
dynamic of the past. Freuds concept of Psychic
Determinism is based on the assumption that
unconscious processes can be the cause of
conscious ones, but not vice versa. Some aspects
of psychoanalytical theory, notably those
centering round the Interpretation of Dreams and
the use of Symbols, are concerned with meaning


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

and the grammar of unconscious thinking and not

with cauzation.
Ceiling effect: An effect when a test is too easy so
that all of the subjects score near the top (or
ceiling) of the scale. The result is that the test is
unable to distinguish between individuals who are
more, or less, competent. The opposite is known
as a floor effect.
Censor, Censorship: In Freuds first formulations the
mental agency responsible for Dream distortion
and Repression was called the censor. The censor
is the theoretical ancestor of the Super-ego.
Centration: A Piagetian term which refers to the preoperational childs tendency to focus on one central
characteristic of a problem, to the exclusion of other
features. For example judging the volume of a of
liquid purely by a single dimension such as height,
rather than taking into account other dimensions
such as width. Centration is considered by
Piagetians to be a manifestation of egocentricity,
which can lead to the inability to decentre and the
inability to conserve number and volume.
Centripetal: In psychiatry, connoting treatment or
approaches that focus on minute analysis of the
Cephalalgia: Headache, this term was included in DSMII but was omitted from DSM-III.
Cerebral electrotherapy (CET): A treatment using low
intensity pulses of direct electrical current. It is
used primarily in the treatment of depression,
anxiety and insomnia. Not to be confused with
electroconvulsive therapy.
Cerebration: Mental activity.
Cerea flexibilitas: The waxy flexibility often present in
catatonic schizophrenia in which the patients arm
or leg remains in the position in which it is placed.
Character analysis: Psychoanalytic treatment that
concentrates on character defenses.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Character assassination: Term used by Leslie Farber

(1967) to describe the misuse of psychoanalytical
theory to disparage, character and impugn motives.
This is done by either (a) interpreting behaviour in
terms of Infantile motive without reference to the
modifications of them produced by Sublimation,
education, sophistication etc. or (b) labeling
character traits by reference to whatever psychiatric condition displays them in caricature form.
Character defense: A trait of personality that serves
an unconscious defensive purpose.
Character disorder: A pattern of personality characterized by maladaptive, inflexible behaviour.
Character neurosis: A psychoanalytical concept
derived from a typology constructed from the
interpretation of character traits as their derivations
of phases of development, or the analogues of
particular symptoms. Thus the former would
include the hysterical or obsessional character.
According to this concept, the manifestations of
character neurosis are intermediate between normal
character traits and neurotic symptoms (Jones,
1938). See also personality disorder.
Charcot, Jean M. (18251893): French neurologist
noted for describing hysteria and treating it by
means of hypnosis. Freud based much of his early
work on Charcots pioneer studies in hysteria.
Charles Bonnet syndrome: It was named in 1938 by
Morsier, after the man who first described and later
himself developed the condition. It is characterized
by vivid and complex visual hallucinations that
are recognized as nureal and occur in the absence
of any other psychiatric symptoms. The syndrome
has most frequently been described in elderly
people and is commonly associated with visual
Chi Square: A statistical technique in which variables
are categorized in order to determine whether a
distribution of scores is due to chance or to experimental factors.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Child abuse: The significant failure of a responsiable

person to care for a child appropriately. Physical
injury, sometimes called non-accidental injury or
NAI, was the first form to be widely recognized
(see battered baby syndrome) and is still the
commonest form to be reported. However it is now
recognized that other forms of child abuse may be
at least as common, though often they are more
difficult to identify. The major forms of abuse can
be grouped under the headings of physical, emotional and sexual and in each case the abuse may
be active or passive. See failure to thrive and sexual
Child analysis: Application of psychoanalytic to the
treatment of the child.
Childhood: Portion of a persons life span between
infancy and puberty.
Childhood Psychosis, atypical: A variety of infantile
psychotic disorders which may show some, but
not all of the features of infantile autism. Symptoms
may include stereotyped repetitive movements,
hyperkinesis, self-injury, retarded speech development, echolalia and impaired social relationship.
Such disorders may occur in children of any level
of intelligence but are particularly common in those
with mental retardation.
Childhood schizophrenia: In DSM-III, called pervasive
developmental disorder. See also pervasive
developmental disorder.
Child rearing styles: A generalized term used to refer
to characteristic ways of handling or dealing with
ones children. The 1960s saw considerable amount
of research into the effects of child-rearing or
parenting styles, much of which proved inconclusive.
Chronobiology: The science or study of temporal
factors in life stages and disorders, such as the
sleepwalking cycle, biologic clocks and rhythms,

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Chronophobia: Fear of time; sometimes called prison

neurosis, since almost all prisoners are affected by
it in some fashion. It is characterized by panic,
anxiety and claustrophobia.
Chunking: The process by which according to Miller,
short term memory can be extended. Millers theory
that short term memory was of limited capacity to
able to deal with only 7 plus-or minus 2 items at a
time. However by grouping items of information
into meaningful chunks that capacity could be
extended considerably (e.g., the figures
would form four units treated separately, but just
one chunck if perceived as the date 1066). See
also short term memory.
Circadian rhythm: A term used to describe bodily
cycles that last for approximately 24 hours, e.g., of
temperature and of alterness. Many individuals
show pronounced circadian rhythm, becoming
attuned to their daily cycle. Distruption of such
cycles, such as occurs when traveling from one
time-zone to another, can produce an uncomfortable period of readjustment, known as jet lag.
Extensive research by Kleitman and other has
investigated natural human periodicity in cue-free
environments such as caves in which lighting and
temperature are kept constant. Physiological
correlates of diurnal rhythms (e.g., fluctuations in
body temperature) and the relationship between
circadian rhythms and performance have been
studies in this way. Circadian rhythms are also
known as diurnal rhythms when referring to
functions which occur during the day, and
nocturnal rhythms for night-time activities. There
is controversy over whether circadian rhythms are
controlled by a biological clock.
Circumstantiality: Disturbance in the associative
thought and speech processes in which the patient
digresses into unnecessary details and inappropriate thoughts before communicating the central
idea. It is observed in schizophrenia, obsessional


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

disturbances, and certain cases of dementia. See

also Tangentiality.
Clairvoyance: The perception of objects or events
which are beyond the known reach of the senses.
It is a particular form of extra-sensory perception
distinguished by the fact that it is practiced by
medium, a person supposed to have special powers
to communicate with and receive messages from
distinct or dead people. Clairvoyance is classified
as a branch of parapsychology.
Clang association: Association or speech directed by
the sound of a word, rather than its meaning.
Punning and rhyming may dominate the persons
verbal behaviour. It is seen most frequently in
schizophrenia or mania. Also known as clanging.
Classical concept: A term referring to the classification
of human concepts following work by J.S. Bruner
and others on the development of thinking.
Classical concepts are those in which the identifying properties of the concept are shown by every
member of that class. So, for instance, all the cards
of the suit diamonds in a pack will show the
diamond symbol, will be rectangular, etc. By
contrast, although having four legs would be an
identifying property of the concept tables not all
members of the class would posses that property.
Tables would therefore be a probabilistic concept
rather than a classical concept.
Classical conditioning: See conditioning.
Claustrophobia: A phobic fear or avoidance of closed
a simple or specific phobia.
Client-centered psychotherapy: A nondirective form
of psychotherapy originated by Carl Rogers in
which the therapeutic process focuses on the
patients own thinking and feeling, which the
therapist merely helps to clarify through understanding and empathy. The client-centered approach
was developed as a reaction against the authoritativeness and interpretation of the more traditional
psychotherapies, based on a humanistic approach.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Climacteric: The menopause and postmenopausal

period in woman. It is sometimes used to refer to
the same age period.
Clinical interview: A method of investigation based
on informal contact between the researcher and
the individual(s) which he or she is studying. Use
of the clinical interview technique avoids the main
problem of artificiality in research, but sometimes
at the cost of objectivity and reliability. It has been
frequently used in psychology, for instance by
Piaget in his studies of cognitive development in
Clinical psychologist: See psychologist, clinical.
Clinical psychology: That branch of psychology which
is concerned with the use of insights and method
obtained from theoretical psychology and clinical
experience to assist those with problems in living,
or with psychological difficulties. Over the last 25
years the profession has shifted from providing
assessment as requested by psychiatrists to functioning as independent therapists. Clinical psychologists may use a range of techniques such as
cognitive therapy and biofeedback. The major
specialisms are defined in terms of the client
groups, i.e., general adult, child, mental handicap,
neurology and elderly. However, clinical psychologists are increasingly to be found in community
bases or working alongside general medical practitioners and are beginning to be employed in
Clouding of consciousness: Any disturbance of
consciousness in which the person is not fully
awake, alert and oriented.
Cluster suicides: Multiple suicides, usually among
adolescents, in circumscribed period of time and
area. Thought to have an element contagion.
Cocaine: Alkaloid obtained from leaves of the coca
plant. It is an effective local anesthetic when
applied topically. Its systemic effects include
striking central nervous system stimulation,


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

manifested by garrulousness, restlessness, excitement and feelings of increased muscular strength

and mental capacity. Its potent euphoric and mood
elevating effects were eloquently described by
Sigmund Freud in reference to his own selfadministered experiences with it.
Codes of language: A description of styles of language
use, which distinguishes two main codes of
language. Elaborated codes, which involve a wide
vocabulary and extensive use of nouns explicit
descriptions, and restricted codes, involving a more
restricted vocabulary, a preference for pronouns,
and the use of implicit description in preference to
explicit. These codes were first described by
Bernstein, who argued (a) that elaborated codes
were used far more by middle-class than by working
class individuals, and (b) that the language codes
used would facilitate or inhibit cognitive development owing to elaborated codes less dependent
on context and therefore more amenable to abstract
conceptualization. Bernsteins work was heavily
criticized, notable by Labour.
Coding: Also referred to as encoding, the term is
generally taken to refer to ways in which information is represented cognitively e.g., for storing
in memory of for association with other information. Memories may be coded in a variety of
ways, using many different modalities (e.g.,
kinaesthetic, or enactive coding, visual or iconic
coding , auditory coding). See also representation,
Coefficient of correlation: A statistical term referring
to the relation between two sets of paired
measurements. Correlation coefficientswhich may
be positive, negative, or curvilinear, depending on
whether the variations are in the same direction,
the opposite direction, or both directions, can be
computed in a variety of ways. The most common
is the product moment method referred to as r.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Another method is rank correlation (p). Correlation

coefficients are intended to show degree of
relation, but causal relationship between variables.
Coexistent culture: Alternative system of values, norms
and pattern for behaviour. The group therapy
experience often leads to an awareness of other
systems as legitimate alternatives to ones own
Cognition: Mental process of knowing and becoming
aware. One of the ego functions, it is closely
associated with judgement. Groups that study their
own processes and dynamics use more cognition
than the encounter groups, which emphasize
emotions. It is also known as thinking.
Cognitive-appraisal theory of emotions: A theory which
states that the emotions we feel result from
evaluations, or appraisals of information received
from the situation, from evaluations of information
received from the situation, from the body and from
memories of past encounters with similar
situations. See reapproval.
Cognitive behaviour therapy: A method of psychological therapy derived from behaviour therapy but
extended to take account of the patients cognitions.
The objective is to modify both maladaptive behaviours and maladaptive beliefs. See also cognitive
Cognitive complexity: Reflects a style of thinking
(cognition) and described the number of dimensions and the relationship among dimensions on
which a person places stimulus information in the
process of translating a stimulus into response.
The use of several more less independent dimensions of perceptions, judgement and behaviour is
called differentiation. The degree of cognitive
complexity identified for any individual reflects the
degree of differentiation and or integration which
he or she displays.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Cognitive consistency: The tendency to avoid contradictory cognitions about social reality.
Cognitive development: The way that cognitions
develop during childhood. The major and most
detailed theory of cognitive development is that
produced by Piaget, though his theory is largely
restricted to the ways thinking and understanding
change through childhood. One of Piagets most
important contributions was to establish that the
thought and logic of young children is not an
inferior version of adult thinking, but has its own
rules and is well adapted to the needs of the child.
Cognitive development is not just a process of
getting better at adult modes of cognition, but is a
complex progression through different kinds of
thinking and understanding.
Cognitive dissonance: A concept put forward by
Festinger, in which the main proposal is that each
individual strives to maintain consistency between
the differing cognition. Should a noticeable inconsistency arise, this will produce a state of cognitive
dissonance, which the individual experiences as
uncomfortable and attempts to correct. Dissonance
is reduced by adjusting one of the beliefs or
attitudes involved in the inconsistency, so that
the conflict disappears.
Cognitive framework: Categories and their perceived
interrelationships used in social perception, induced
are implicit personal theories, relationships among
traits, and stereotypes.
Cognitive learning: A change in the way information is
processed as a result of experience that a person
or an animal has had. See imitation.
Cognitive map: An internal representation of a specific
or general area, which forms a plan or outline that
can guide behaviour. The idea of cognitive maps
was put forward by Tolman following work in which
he demonstrated that rats which had been allowed
to explore mazes freely would perform better when

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


subsequently reinforced, than ones which had not

had such an experience. Tolman used the concept
of cognitive maps in which cognition might be
involved in learning at a time when learning was
largely conceptualized as a reflexive, stimulusresponse process. Later research on cognitive
maps in humans demonstrated, for instance the
way that areas familiar to an individual would be
perceived as larger and more complex than distant
ones. Some cognitive theorists, among them
Tolman, have argued that cognitive mapping forms
the basis of all internal representations.
Cognitive perspective: A current viewpoint psychology
which emphasizes information processing in the
study of mind and behaviour. See information
processing theory.
Cognitive processes: Specific mental operations
occurring in perception, learning or problem
Cognitive psychology: The branch of psychology which
is concerned with the study of cognition. Cognitive
psychology is generally taken to include the study
of perceptual processes, attention, memory,
imagery, language, concept formation, problem
solving, creativity, reasoning, decision making,
cognitive development and cognitive styles.
Cognitive-response approaches: Views of attitudes
which stress the importance of the active information done by people in the formation of attitudes.
Cognitive restructuring: See cognitive therapy/
cognitive behaviour therapy.
Cognitive slippage and derailment: Thought which is
marked by a series of ideas which depart from a
logical framework; it is characteristic of many
schizophrenic patients.
Cognitive-structural school: Psychologists who argue
for the importance of active interaction between
the developing organism and the environment in
determining behaviour and cognition, Jean Piaget
is a representative of this school.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Cognitive styles: Distinctive patterns of cognitive

which characterize individuals work on cognitive
styles has included investigation of convergent
and divergent thinking, field dependence, and
forms of intelligence.
Cognitive therapy: In its narrow sense, an approach to
the treatment of depression developed by Aaron
Beck. Beck sees depression as resulting from a
combination of a negative evaluation of the self, a
negative view of present experiences and events
and negative expectations of the future. The
sufferer than uses faulty logic to maintain this
outlook. The therapist must be very active to
modify the way the patient thinks, insisting on
correct logic and challenging unrealistically
pessimistic assumptions. Beck has described
specific techniques to be used in cognitive therapy
but the term is now beginning to be used for a
wide range of less well defined approaches based
on similar principles.
Cohesion: See group cohesion.
Cohesiveness: Refers to the forces that hold a group
together. It is based upon the attraction that the
members of the group feel for each other and/or
the sharing of the common group goal.
Coitus: Sexual intercourse.
Coitus interruptus: Sexual intercourse that is interrupted before the man ejaculates.
Cold turkey: Abrupt, withdrawal from opiates without
the benefit of methadone or other drugs. The term
was originated by drug addicts to describe their
chills and consequent gooseflesh. Abstinenceoriented therapeutic communities use this type of
detoxification. See also Detoxification.
Collaboration: A term used by Harry Stack Sullivan to
connote sensitivity to the needs of another person.
Collective Experience: The common emotional experiences of a group of people. Identification, mutual
support, reduction of ego defenses, sibling trans-

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


ferences, and empathy help integrate the individual

member into the group, in the setting of group
psychotherapy, it accelerates the therapeutic
process. S.R. Slavson, who coined the phrase,
warned against letting the collective experience
submerge the individuality of the members or give
them an opportunity to escape from their own
autonomy and responsibility.
Collective unconscious: Psychic contents outside the
realm of awareness that are common to mankind in
general. Jung who introduced the term believed
that the collective unconscious is inherited and
derived from the collective experience of the
species. It transcends cultural differences and
explains the analogy between ancient mythological
ideas and the primitive projections observed in
some patients who have never been exposed to
those ideas.
Collegial marriage: A relationship in which comradeship and sharing are emphasized; husband and
wife assume responsibility for different roles in the
marriage with each respecting the individualibilities
and interests of the other.
Coma: A state of profound unconsciousness from which
the person cannot be roused, with minimal or no
detectable responsiveness to stimuli. It is seen in
severe in injury or disease of the brain, in such
systemic conditions as diabetic ketoacidosis and
uremia, and in intoxications with alcohol and other
drugs. In psychiatry, coma may be seen in severe
catatonic states and in hysteria.
Coma vigil: Coma in which the eyes remain open. It is
typically seen in acute organic brain syndromes
associated with systemic infection.
Combact fatigue: A disabling physical and mental
reaction to stress of military battle.
Combined therapy: A type of psychotherapy in which
the patient is in both individual and group treatment
with the same or two different therapists. In marriage


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

therapy, it is the combination of married couples

group therapy with either individual sessions with
one spouse or Conjoint therapy, Co-therapy, Family
therapy, Marriage therapy, Quadrangular therapy.
Command automatism: Condition closely associated
with catalepsy in which suggestions are followed
Command negativism: See Negativism.
Commitment: A legal process for admitting a mentally
ill person to a psychiatric treatment program. The
legal definition and procedure vary from state to
state although commitment usually requires a court
or judicial procedure. Commitment may also be
Communication disorder: A form of speech or writing
that impairs the communication because of
aberrancy of rate, content, of form but not because
of failure to follow semantic or syntactic rules.
Examples include pressure of speech, tangentiality,
echolalia, and preservation. See also Language
Community: See Therapeutic community.
Community mental health: The attempt to bring public
health principles to the area of mental health.
Community mental health stresses crisis intervention in psychiatric emergencies; it attempts to
make inexpensive specialized psychotherapy
available to poor people; it attempts to resolve
community problems that lead to psychological
Community mental health center: A community or
neighbourhood mental health facility or a group of
affiliated agencies that severe as a locus for the
delivery of the various services of community
psychiatry. See also community psychiatry.
Community psychiatry: Psychiatry focusing on the
detection, prevention and early treatment of mental
disorders and social deviance as they develop in
the community rather than as they are perceived

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


and encountered at large centralized psychiatric

facilities. Particular emphasis is placed on the
environmental factors that contribute to mental
Community psychology: The subfield of psychology
emphasizing application of psychological principles, ideas and points of views to help solve social
problems and to help individuals adapt to their
work and living groups.
Companionship marriage: A relationship in which
male and female roles are not regarded as fixed;
husbands and wives freely assume the rights and
obligations of their partners, depending on the
Comparison level (CL): The social exchange theory, a
subjective standard for judging whether the outcomes experienced in a social relationships are
satisfactory. Compare comparison level for alternatives (Clalt).
Comparison level for alternatives (Clalt): In social
exchange theory, an individuals standard used for
judging the outcomes that would be received in
the next best alternative relationship, or in simply
being alone, when outcomes in the present
relationship fall below the Clalt, a person will leave
the relationship in favour of the alternative.
Compare comparison level (CL).
Compensation and overcompensation: A defence
mechanism in which an individual substitutes one
activity for another in an attempt to satisfy
frustrated (see frustration) motives. It usually
implies failure or loss of self-esteem in one activity
and the compensation for this loss by efforts in
some other realm of endeavour.
Compensation neurosis: An ill-defined, heterogenous
assortment of neurotic symptoms with a marked
somatic tint (anxiety irritability, postural dizziness,
headache, poor concentration, visual difficulties,
sleep disturbances, sexual problems, intractable
pain), all atributed by the patient to the effects of


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

an accident or other injury (especially involving

the head) and presented as a motive for litigation
aimed at compensation. The condition first
described by Charcot (1873) and by Oppenheim
(1889), has been claimed to occur more frequently
in men, in the less educated and less skilled
occupational groups, and in people with preexisting emotional difficulties. Although the
secondary gain motive often features prominently
as a unifying theme for the variable symptomatically, the psychological cauzation of the
complaints may be overinterpreted and the possible
contribution of organic factors overlooked. The
nosological status of the condition remains, therefore, uncertain. Synonyms: accident neurosis; litigation neurosis: traumatic neurosis; post-traumatic
Competency to stand trial: Ability to be tried in a court
of law. A person is competent to stand trial when at
the time of the trial he (1) understands the nature
of the charge and the potential consequences of
conviction and (2) is able to assist his attorney in
his defense. See also Durham rule, insanity, M
Naughten rules.
Competition: Struggle for the possession or use of
limited goods, concrete or abstract. Gratification
for one person largely precludes gratification for
Complex: A group of interrelated ideas, mainly unconscious, that have common emotional tone. A
complex strongly influences the persons attitudes
and behaviour. The term was introduced by Jung,
who called it a feeling-toned idea.
Complimentarity of interaction: A concept of bipersonal and multipersonal psychology in which
behaviour is viewed as a response to stimulation,
and interaction replaces the concept of reaction.
Each person in an interactive situation plays both
a provocative role and a responsive role.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Complimentary role: See Role.

Compromise: A mental mechanism whereby a conflict
is evaded by disguising the repressed wish to make
it acceptable in consciousness.
Compulsion: Uncontrollable, repetitive and unwanted
urge to perform the act. It serves as a defense
against unacceptable ideas and desires, and failure
to perform the act leads of to overt anxiety. See
also Obsession, Repetition compulsion.
Compulsive personality disorder: A personality
disorder characterized by rigidity, over conscientiousness, extreme inhibition, inability to relax and
the performance of repetitive patterns of behaviour.
A DSM-III term used to replace the DSM-II term
obsessive-compulsive personality.
Computer simulation: The use of computers to replicate
human thought strategies and patterns of behaviour. Research on computer simulation has
involved the study of the use of heuristics in
reasoning, and of probhalistic judgements in
decision-making. It is hoped by those involved
that such research will eventually throw light on
human cognitive processes in industrial psychology; computer simulation often provides a safer,
cheaper, or more ethical way of examining what
will happen to the process being simulated, under
a variety of conditions. See also artificial intelligence.
Conation: That part of persons mental life concerned
with his strivings, motivations, drives and wishes
as expressed through his behaviour.
Concept: The concepts used in psychoanalytical theory
can be classified according to the underlying
assumptions of Fictions which are being used to
organize the facts into theoretical formulations. For
example: (1) Principle concepts: which assume that
mental life is actuated by, usually, the Conflict
between opposing forces actuated by principles,
e.g., Eros and Thanatos. Life and Death instincts,


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Sex and Aggression, the Reality and Pleasure

principles (2) Structural concepts: These assume
that mental processes are localizable on a diagram
e.g., id, ego and Super-ego, Ego-Boundary layers
or strata of mental content by which Memories,
Impulses, Phantasies, etc., are imagined to be at
varying distances from the surface. In this instance
hypothesis about the accessibility of Unconscious
phenomena to Consciousness are formulated in
terms of their distance from it, it usually being
assumed that the longer ago the further down
(3) Economic Concepts: These assume the existence of some form of mental Energy, Quanta of
which may be attached to Structures (bound
energy) or may move from one structure to another
(free energy), e.g., Libido, Aggression, Destrado,
Cathexis (4) Dynamic concepts: Those which
describe mental activity in terms process, derive
and development, e.g., Instinct, Drive, Impulse,
Sublimation (5) Faculty concepts: These are
hangovers from pre-Freudian psychology; e.g.,
Memory, Insight, both of which can be, but often
are not restated in dynamic terms i.e., remembering
forgetting and (perhaps) introspection.
Concept formation: The name given to the process by
which concepts are developed and distinguished.
A considerable amount of research on cognitive
development has emphasized concept formation.
Conception: An abstract mental idea of anything. Also
the act of becoming pregnant.
Concordance: A term used in studies of twins to indicate
the degree of similarity a particular trait. See also
Concrete operational stage: This is the third of Piagets
four stages of cognitive development, characterized
by the childs fascination with the materials world
and his strong inclination to collect facts and
statistics. Children in the concrete operation stage
were considered unable to deal fully with abstract
concepts, and able to deal with those aspects of

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


experience which had a material equivalent or which

could be represented in a concrete fashion. The
stage was considered to last from approximately
7 to 11 years of age. See also sensorimotor stage,
pre-operational stage, formal operational stage.
Concrete thinking: Thinking characterized by actual
things and events and immediate experience, rather
than by abstractions. Concrete thinking is seen in
young children; in those who have lost or never
developed the ability to generalize as in certain
organic mental disorders, and in schizophrenics.
See also Abstract thinking.
Concrete word: A word for which a visual image is easily
formed, Compare abstract word.
Condensation: A mental process in which one symbol
stands for a number of components; often present
in dreams.
Conditional positive regard: A concept introduced by
Carl Rogers, which refers to the satisfaction of the
basic need for positive regard in human beings.
The term conditional positive regard refers to
approval, love or respect given only as a result of
the individual behaving in appropriate, or socially
acceptable ways. A person who has encountered
nothing bit conditional positive regard throughout
their life will according to Rogers, become unable
to satisfy the need for self-actualization. Autonomous action, or exploration of their own potential,
necessitates taking a certain amount of risk, in that
it could conceivable result in social disapproval.
The formation of a relationship which provides
unconditional positive regard for the individual
provides the security for such self-realization to
take place and this is the goal of Rogerian clientcentered therapy.
Conditioned reflex: A physiological reflex, or automatic
response which is produced in response such a
reaction, but has come to do so as a result of the
process of classical conditioning.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Conditioned reinforcer: An event or stimulus which

has acquired the property of strengthening a
learned (conditioned) response, such that the
learning is less likely to become extinguished. See
also secondary reinforcement.
Conditioned response: A response which is produced
in specific conditions, as a result of being
associated, through a training process, with a
particular stimulus, known as a conditioned
stimulus. The training process consists of repeatedly pairing a novel stimulus with one which will
elicit the desired response automatically. After a
while, the new stimulus will come to elicit the
response independently, at which point the
response is said to have become a conditioned
response. See classical conditioning.
Conditioned stimulus: A stimulus which brings about
a response as a result of repeated association with
an unconditioned stimulus. See also classical
conditioning, conditioned response.
Conditioning: Procedure resulting in the acquisition or
learning of more or less permanent changes in
behaviour. There are two main types of conditioning, also called Pavlovian conditioning and
respondent conditioning, a neutral stimulus is
repeatedly paired with a stimulus (the unconditioned stimulus) that naturally elicits a response
(the unconditioned response) until the neutral
stimulus (the conditioned stimulus) comes to elicit
that response (now the conditioned response) by
itself. Operant conditioning also known as instrumental conditioning, is a conditioning procedure
developed by B.F. Skinner in which a spontaneously emitted behaviour (an operant behaviour) is
either rewarded (reinforced) or punished and as a
result, then occurs with a frequency that is either
increased (in the case of reinforcement) or decreased
(in the case of punishment). See also behaviour

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Conditions not attributable to a mental disorder: A

DSM-III category gives to a person who may or
may not have a mental disorder but who has a
During conditioning
Stimulus (US)

Response (UR)

Stimulus (CS)
After conditioning
Stimulus (CS)

Response (UR)

Stimulus (CS)

Response (CR)

Stages of classical conditioning

Fig. 2. Classical Conditioning (Pavlovian)

problem which may require intervention by a

psychiatrist. Included are martial problem, occupational problem, phase of life problem, malingering,
bereavement, antisocial behaviour, borderline
intellectual functioning, and non-compliance with
medical treatment.
Conditions of worth: A concept put forward by Carl
Rogers concerning the way in which the individuals self-concept is affected by the conditional
positive regard which he or she has experienced
throughout life. Conditions of worth are an
internalized set of values by which the individual
assesses their own behaviour. In individuals who
have experienced only conditioned positive regard
throughout life, such conditions of worth may come
to represent unrealistic high standards of conduct,
giving the individual a negative self-concepts, and
inhibiting the expression of their need for selfactualization.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Conduct disorder: In DSM a childhood disorder

characterized by antisocial behaviour. The conduct
disorders include undersocialized, aggressive and
nonaggressive and socialized aggressive and
nonaggressive. See also undersocialized.
Confabulation: Unconscious filling of gaps in memory
by imaging experiences or events that have no basis
in fact. It is common in organic amnestic syndrome.
Confabulation should be differentiated from lying.
See also Fabulation, Lying, Paramnesia.
Confidentiality: Ethical principle by which the
physician is bound to hold secret all information
given to him by the patient. Legally certain states
do not recognize confidentiality and can require
the physician to divulge such information if needed
in a legal proceeding. See also Privilege.
Conflict: A mental struggle that arises from the simultaneous operation of opposing impulses drives,
external (environmental) or internal demands.
Termed intrapsychic when the conflict is between
forces within the personality; extrapsychic, when
it is between the self and the environment.
Conflict-free area: Part of ones personality or ego that
is well integrated and does cause any conflicts,
symptoms or displeasures.
Conformity: The social process by which people in a
group or in a social situation engage in behaviour
which appears to be socially acceptable, that is, to
go along with the social expectations apparent at
the time. Conformity is often divided into compliance (conforming while inwardly disagreeing) and
internalization (conforming as a result of internal
agreement with the behaviour). Normative
conformity refers to the process of conforming as
a result of the existence of strong social norms
directing the accepted behaviour; informational
conformity is the process by which an individual
may conform to others on the grounds that they
are better informed about the situation; while
ingratiational conformity refers to conformity with

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


the specific purpose of the individuals achieving

social approval, or a feeling of belonging. The
classic experiment in the field was conducted by
Solomon Asch, who constructed groups of people
to pretend to misjudge the length of a line and
found that subjects in the group who had not
received this instruction felt under strong pressure
to conform. Conforming to group pressure is
sometimes called the Asch effect.
Confrontation: A communication that deliberately
invites another to self-examine some aspect of
behaviour in which there is discrepancy between
saying and doing.
Confusion: A term usually employed to designate a
state of impaired consciousness associated with
acute or chronic cerebral organic disease. Clinically
it is characterized by disorientation, slowness of
mental processes with scanty association of ideas,
apathy, lack of initiative, fatigue and poor attention.
In mind confusional states rational responses and
behaviour may be provoked by rendering the
subject unable to retain contact with the environment. The term is also employed loosely to describe
disordered thinking in the functional psychoses;
this latter usage is not recommended. See also
confusion, reactive, consciousness, clouded.
Synonym: confusional state.
Confusional state, acute: Short lived transient psychotic condition, lasting hours or days. Unless
specified as reactive confusion, the term refers to
organic states e.g., delirium or twilight state.
Synonyms: acute psycho organic syndrome; acute
organic reaction.
Confusional state, subacute: Transient organic
psychotic condition in which the symptoms,
usually less florid than the acute state, last for
several weeks or longer, during which time they
may show marked fluctuations in intensity.
Synonyms: amentia; subacute delirium; subacute
psycho-organic syndrome.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Confusion reactive: Mental disorders with clouded

consciousness, disorientation (though less marked
than in organic confusion) and diminished accessibility often accompanied by excessive activity
and apparently provoked by emotional stress.
Synonyms; psychogenic confusion, psychogenic
twilight state.
Congenital: Referring to conditions present at birth,
including hereditary conditions and those resulting
from prenatal development or the process of birth
Congruence: A general term used to refer to behaviour,
attitudes or ideas which are in accord and not in
conflict with other such behaviour attitudes or
Conjoint therapy: A type of marriage therapy in which
a therapist sees the partners together in joint
sessions. That situation is also called triadic or
iriangular therapy, since two patients and one
therapist work together. See also Combine therapy,
Family therapy, Marriage therapy, Quadrangular
Conjugal paranoia: See Paranoia, conjugal.
Conscience: The morally self-critical part of ones
standards of behaviour, performance and value
judgements. Commonly equated with the superego.
Conscious: One division of Freuds topographic theory
of the mind, the conscious refers to that portion of
mental functioning that is within the realm of
awareness at all times. More generally, the term
means having present knowledge of oneself, ones
acts and ones surroundings and thus refers to the
functioning of the sensorium. See also Preconscious, unconscious.
Consciousness: The awareness of ones own mental
processes, or the state of having this awareness.
The state of being aware of ones perceptions,
thoughts, and feelings is vivid and undesirable
but extremely difficult to study. The major issue is
whether consciousness has any function or

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


whether as the behaviourists claim it is just a byproduct of behaviour. As developments like information theory have provided a language for
describing private mental events, psychologists
are returning to the study of phenomena like
consciousness, See also unconscious, sensorium.
Consciousness, clouded: A state of impaired consciousness representing mild stages of disturbance
on the continuum from full awareness to coma.
Disorders of awareness, orientation and perception
are associated with cerebral or other physical
organic disease. Although the term has been
employed to cover a wider range (including the
restricted perceptual field following acute emotional
stress) it is best used to designate the early stage
of an organically determined con-fusional state.
See also confusion; consciousness.
Consciousness, narrowing (restriction) of the field of:
A form of disordered consciousness in which the
field is restricted to and dominated by a small group
of ideas and emotions to the virtual exclusion of
other content. This condition occurs in extreme
fatigue and hysteria; it also may be associated with
some forms of cerebral disorders, especially the
twilight states of epilepsy. See also: consciousness; consciousness clouded; twilight state.
Consensual validation: The continuous comparison of
the thoughts and feelings of group members
towards one another that tend to modify and
correct interpersonal distortions. The term was
introduced by Harry Stack Sullivan to refer to the
dyadic therapeutic process between doctor and
patient. Previously, Trigant Burrow had referred to
consensual observation to describe the process,
which results in effective reality testing.
Consensus: A common or generalized agreement,
usually concerning social norms or acceptable
behaviour; also used to refer to agreement between
theories or ideas.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Conservation: The ability to recognize that volume,

number or mass do not change when the physical
appearance of the way that they are presented
changes. In Piagetian theory the ability to conserve
is developed towards the end of the preoperational
stage. Prior to that time if the child is presented
with, say, two identical balls of clay and one of
them is rolled into a sausage shape, the child will
say that the longer one contains more clay. Piaget
considered this to arise from the process of centration; the childs tendency to focus on a single,
central attribute of objects rather than taking
several different aspects of its appearance into
account. More recent studies (e.g., Donaldson),
however, have demonstrated that the language
used to the child and the social situation of the
experiments may have produced the result, and
that children may be able to conserve at a much
earlier age than Piaget suspected.
Conservatorship: In most jurisdiction this status means
that the conservatee is under the control of another
person or persons (conservator) with respect to
discal or contractual affairs but not with respect to
the physical person or body (as with consent to
medical or surgical treatment).
Consistency: The extent to which a particular response
occurs whenever a particular stimulus or situation
is present; a factor important in making attributions,
See consensus information, distinctiveness.
Consistency paradox: The gap between the belief that
personality traits are consistent across situations
and the fact that people dont always behave as
their traits would predict.
Consistency theories: A group of theories about
attitudes which focus on the individuals attempt
to maintain consistency among the numerous
attitudes he or she holds. See balance theory.
Constancy scaling: The process by which the
perceptual system adjusts to distance, by mentally
scaling up objects which are far away, such that

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


they are not perceived as being smaller. It is considered that constancy scaling may provide an explanation for certain visual illusions. e.g., the Ponzo
Constitution: A persons intrinsic psychological or
physical endowment. Used broadly, it includes an
aggregate of characteristics that have developed
from the interation of hereditary and environment
influences. More narrowly used it indicates
characteristics that are purely hereditary or
genetically determined.
Constitutional types: Constellations of morphologic,
physiologic, and psychologic traits as earlier
proposed by various scholars. Galen: Sanguine,
melancholic, pyknic (stocky), asthenic (slender),
athletic and dysplastic (disproportioned) types,
Sheldon; ectomorphic (thin), mesomorphic
(muscular) and endomorphic (fat) types, based on
the relative preponderance of outer, middle or inner
layers of embryonic cellular tissue.
Construct: A term used in personal construct theory to
define concepts in a precise way. It is proposed
that our cognitive system is made up of bipolar
constructs as illness-health and honest-dishonest.
A large part of the theory is concerned with the
relationships between constructs, e.g., a particular
individual may have the idea that honest people
tend also to be healthy.
Constructive memory: The general term given to
memory for meaningful material which has been
affected by the individuals own pre-existing
schemata, values or attitudes. Since Bartlett, it has
been observed that people rarely remember events
or information accurately, but instead tend to adapt
their memories to make more sense and accord with
their own cognitions and cognitive styles, which
is known as constructive memory.
Constructive processes: Modifications of the material
to be remembered which take place at the time of
input. Compare reconstructive processes.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Consultation-liaison psychiatry: Clinical psychiatry

that is carried out on the medical or surgical wards
of a general hospital. The psychiatrist collaborates
closely with non-psychiatric physicians in the total
care of the patient.
Contagion: Force that operates in large groups or
masses. When the level of psychological functioning has been lowered, some sudden upsurge of
anxiety can spread through the group speeded by
a high degree of suggestibility. The anxiety gradually mounts to panic, and the whole group may be
simultaneously affected by a primitive upheaval.
Context: A general setting or environment in which an
event or a phenomenon occurs. There is evidence
to suggest that memory is highly context dependent
and that re-establishing a context will provide cues
which facilitate the retrieval of memories. Similarly,
the context of a communication or an utterance
may be an important influence on how it is
understood. See state dependent learning.
Context bound: Limited to one particular setting and
not applicable to others. The phrase context-bound
is particularly used to refer to Bernsteins descriptions of restricted codes of language users is
closely tied to the specific situation in which the
utterance is made, owing to its reliance on pronouns rather than nouns and on nuances of tone
of voice. Thus, Bernstein argued serves to inhibit
abstract conceptualization in the restricted language
code user.
Contextualism: Emphasizes the importance of contextual factors in the explanation of social, psychological and historical events.
Continuity: The expected consistency of various
characteristics as the individual develops. Most
development psychologists expected the intelligence quotient to stay reasonably constant as the
child grew older, but it is not recognized that its
continuity has been overestimated. In fact there is

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


remarkably little continuity in any kind of

measurable characteristics over anything more than
short time periods. Most psychologists seem, like
most other people to believe in continuity and some
are producing more sophisticated models of
development to account for the lack of continuity
in their data.
Contract: Explicit, bilateral commitment to a welldefined course of action. In group or individual
therapy the therapist patient contract is to attain
the treatment goal.
Control: The term is used in three contexts (1) the
process of keeping the relevant conditions of an
experiment constant (2) causing an independent
variable to vary in a specified and known manner
(3) using a spontaneously occurring and discoverable fact as a check or standard of comparison to
evaluate the facts obtained after the manipulation
of the independent variable.
Control group: In an experimental design, the group in
which a condition or factor being tested is deliberately omitted. For example, in a study measuring
the effects of a new drug, the control group may
be given a placebo, instead of the drug. See also
Experimental group.
Conventional level: Type of thinking about moral issues
in which value is placed on maintaining the
conventional order and satisfying the expectancies
of others. Compare preconventional level, postconventional level.
Conventional morality: This is the second of the three
stages of moral development proposed by
Kohlberg. Individuals at this stage consider that
societys rules are by definition moral. In the early
part of the stage the individual adopts moral codes
in order to avoid social sanctions. In the second
part of the stage, such moral codes or rules are
seen as intrinsically right because they facilitate
the smooth operation of society, and therefore


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

should not be challenged. See also autonomous

morality, pre-moral stage.
Convergent thinking: Problem solving which works
consistently towards a defined solution; a way of
thinking that assumes there is single right answer
and that the way to reach that answer is to work
directly towards it. It has been pointed out that
within the educational system students are trained
in convergent thinking and that intelligence tests
depend entirely on convergent thinking ability.
Rather less justifiably it is then assumed that
convergent thinking is opposed to creativity and
is inferior to creative or divergent thinking. It could
be argued that the reason that most people use
convergent thinking most of the time is because it
works for most problems.
Conversational catharsis: Release of repressed or
suppressed thoughts and feelings in group and
individual psychotherapy as a result of verbal
Conversion: A defense mechanism, operating unconsciously, by which intrapsychic conflicts that
would otherwise give rise to anxiety are, instead,
give symbolic external expression. The repressed
ideas or impulses and the psychologic defenses
against them, are converted into a variety system.
These may include such symptoms as paralysis,
pain or loss of sensory function.
Conversion disorder: A somatoform disorder in which
the patient experiences an involuntary limitation
or alteration of physical function that is an
expression of psychological conflict or need, not
physical disorder. See also Hysterical neurosis.
Conversion symptom: A loss or alteration of physical
functioning that suggests a physical disorder but
that is actually a direct expression of a psychological conflict or need. The disturbance is not
under voluntary control, and is not explained by
any physical disorder (this possibility having been

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


excluded by appropriate investigation). Conversion

symptoms are observed in conversion disorder,
and may occur in schizophrenia.
Conviction: A firm and settled belief.
Convulsive disorder: See Epilepsy.
Convulsive therapy: A form of therapy involving a
group of techniques that induces seizures. In the
strictest sense the seizures are patterned electrical
discharges that are termed central seizures and that
can be measured by use of an electro-encephalograph.
Cooperative therapy: See Co-therapy.
Coping mechanisms: Ways of adjusting to environmental stress without altering ones goals or purposes; includes both conscious and unconscious
Coprolalia: The use of vulgar or obsence language. It
is observed in some cases of schizophrenia. The
word is derived from the Greek words kopros
(excrement) and lalia (talking). See also Gilles de la
Tourettes disease.
Coprophagia: Eating of fifth or feces.
Coprophilia: Excessive interest in filth or feces or their
symbolic representations.
Corrective emotional experience: Reexposure under
favourable circumstances to an emotional situation
that the patient could not handle in the past. As
advocated by Franz Alexander, the therapist
temporarily assumes a particular role to generate
the experience and facilitate reality testing.
Correlation: The extent to which two measures vary
together, or a measure of the strength of the
relationship between two variables. It is usually
expressed by a coefficient which varies between
+1.0, perfect agreement and 1.0 a perfect inverse
relationship correlation coefficient of 0.0 would
mean a perfectly random relationship. The
correlation coefficient signifies the degree to which


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

knowledge of one score or variables does not

necessarily indicate a causal relationship between
them; the correlation may follow because each of
the variables is highly related to a third yet unmeasure factor.
Cotards syndrome (Nihilistic delusions): Delusions
of negative to a varying degree. May have their
body or self has disappeared and they no longer
exist, even that the whole universe no longer exists.
Frequently a depressive symptoms but many have
a basis in organic brain disease.
Co-therapy: A form of psychotherapy in which more
than one therapist treat the individual patient or
the group. It is also known as combined therapy,
cooperative therapy, dual leadership, multiple
therapy, and three-cornered therapy.
Counselling: The term has two rather opposed
meanings (i) counseling is a form of therapy derived
from the non-directive counseling of Carl Rogers
in which the client is supported while they gain
insight into their problem and work on finding their
own solution. Within this use, people who offer
therapy but who have no formal qualification or
whose therapy is carried out a part of another job
(e.g., priests), usually call themselves counselors
(ii) Counselling is also guidance on practical
personal problems such as vocational choices,
problems in studying etc. These counselors are
much note active in providing information, offering
advice practitioners are called counseling psychologist.
Counterbalancing: A strategy used it the design of
those experiments in which it is possible that the
order of presentation of the conditions of the study
could produce an unwanted effect, such as a
practice effect or a fatigue effect. Counterbalancing
involves systematically varying the order of
presentation of the conditions, such that, for
example half of the group of subjects would have
conditions. A followed by condition B, while the

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


other half would have condition B first, followed

by condition A. See also order effects.
Counter-conditioning: In behaviour therapy, the
conditioning of a response which is incompatible
with an existing undesirable behaviour. Some one
who is afraid of spiders might be trained to relax
whenever they think of a spider, so that first
reaction prevents them from feeling fear.
Couples therapy: See marriage therapy.
Couvade syndrome: Husband (usually) developed
extreme anxiety and various physical symptoms
as of pregnancy, when wife is pregnant. May have
morning sickness, abdominal pains, constipation,
food cravings etc.
Creativity: The ability to produce novel products or
solutions to problems. Creativity has been studied
as a counterpart to intelligence, represented by
divergent and convergent thinking abilities
respectively. However, it is difficult to devise tests,
as a creative response is by definition unpredictable, so correct answers cannot be specified in
advance. In fact there is no agreed way of measuring how creative any particular achievement
may be. Also it is probably even less appropriate
than with intelligence to think of creative as a
quality of which an individuals has a certain
measurable amount. Despite these difficulties
E. Paul Torrance has produced a test of reactivity
that seems to work quite well (it includes classic
items like how many uses can you think of for a
brick). He claims that results from the test show
that school education reduces the childs creativity.
The classic theory of creativity is that it requires
preparation (doing the group-work), incubation
(a period of subconscious processing), inspiration
(a sudden insight), and verification (checking the
solution works). More recent theories, for example
Edward de Bonos, usually come down to claiming
that creativity results from a random element in
thinking. It seems unlikely that Leonardo da Vincis
output could be accounted for in this way. So the


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

present state of the field is that we have no

plausible theory of how creativity happens, no
reliable way of measuring the creativity of a person,
and no real characteristics of the individual or
because of particular kinds of circumstances. We
clearly need a creative solution to these problems,
but we do not have much idea of how to achieve
Criminal responsibility: Legal term meaning the ability
to formulate a criminal intent at the time of an alleged
crime. A person cannot be convicted of a crime if it
can be proved that he lacked criminal responsibility
by reason of insanity. See also competency to stand
trial, Durham rule, Insanity, MNaughten rules.
Crisis: A state of psychological disequilibrium, turning
point in a persons life.
Crisis intervention: A brief therapeutic approach used
in emergency rooms of general or psychiatric
hospitals that is ameliorative, rather than curative,
of acute psychiatric emergencies. Often treatment
factors focus on environmental modification
although interpersonal and intrapsychic factors are
also considered. Individual, group, family, or drug
therapy is used within a time limited structure of
several day to several weeks. See also Hot line.
Crisis-intervention group psychotherapy: Group
therapy aimed at decreasing or eliminating an
emotional or situational crisis.
Crisis, therapeutic: See Therapeutic crisis.
Criterion: A standard or yardstick by which a judgement
or evaluation is made. One use of the term is for
the level of probability required for a statistical
result to be regarded as significant. The usual
criterion is a probability level of less than .05.
Critical period: A time period during the development
of the individual in which a particular function can
readily be acquired. Outside of the specific time it
will be difficult or impossible to acquire the function.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


The function may result from physical development (maturation) or from prepared learning.
Imprinting in ducklings is a well known example,
and in human infants it three dimensional vision is
about achieved by the age about two years then it
will never be acquired. On a strict definition, critical
periods should be well defined time during development and the function should be impossible to
achieve either before of after this period. However,
outside of physical growth processes, examples
of strict critical periods are rather rare. It is now
known than even imprinting can be obtained well
after the end of the normal critical period. In human
development it is now more common to speak to
sensitive periods. But even this looser term as often
been applied too enthusiastically. For example it is
not very helpful to refer to a critical or sensitive
period for language acquisition when language can
be acquired at any time during a period of at least
12 years and possibly more.
Cross-cueing: The process observed in split-brain
patients by which one hemisphere of the brain
transmits information to the other. In a typical
experiment a subject may be shown an object to
one side of the brain only. Later the object is shown
to the other side of the brain, and the subject is
asked questions about it. Although in such patients
the corpus callosum has been cut so no direct
transmission of information between the cerebral
hemispheres is possible, subjects may produce
feedback on the correctness of the answer offered
by an imperceptible nod, frown, or other physical
signal. This is recognized by the other side of the
brain, so that the question can be answered
correctly. Cross-cueing of this nature can often be
extremely rapid and subtle.
Cross-cultural study: A study which involves the
comparison of people from different cultures.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Cross-model transfer: The transferring on information

from one sensory mode to another. For instance
figure ground perception learned as a result of
experienced with tough may also be applied when
the subject is using vision. This kind of transfer is
found frequently with subjects who have acquired
a new sensory function; e.g., people blind from
birth who have obtained their sight through an
operation performed in adulthood.
Cross-cultural psychiatry: The comparative study of
mental illness and health among various societies
around the world.
Crowd psychology: The psychology of crowd and mass
behaviour is a psychology of history both in its
subject matter and its models and in its initial aim
of reforming the theory and practice of politics.
Crystallized intelligence: The type of intelligence
involved in an plying what has been learned;
reflects ones cultural exposure and is composed
largely of knowledge and skills. Compare fluid
Cue: Something which gives an idea or a hint about
something. A cue in memory theory, for instance,
is a remembered item which connects with further
information, allowing the individual to retrive more.
In perception, a cue is the item of information which
is used by the brain to direct the interpretation of
specific stimuli; a depth cue is that part of the
information which indicates how for away something is.
Cue-dependent forgetting: The inability to retrieve
information stored in memory because of insufficient internally or externally generated cues.
Cult: A system of beliefs and rituals, as for the cure of
disease or suffering, based on dogma or religious
teaching; the devoted adherents to such a system.
Culture: A general term used to describe the set of
accepted ideas, practices, values and characteristic
which develop within a particular society or people.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Although most modern societies are multicultural

to some degree, the word culture is often, though
not accurately, used interchangeably with society.
Cultural deprivation: Restricted participation in the
culture of the larger society.
Cultural determinism: The view that patterns of
behaviour are determined by cultural rather than
biological or other factors. Some customs, attitudes,
values or role perceptions remain unchanged over
several generations.
Cultural diffusion: The spread of cultural traits through
contact across societies.
Culture fair tests: Tests that reduce cultural bias by
incorporating knowledge and skills common to
many different cultures and socio-economic
Culture free and culture fair tests: During the 1960s
and early 1970s considerable efforts were made to
develop psychometric tests. e.g., I.Q. and personality tests, which would avoid cultural bias by being
free from reference to culture altogether. In practice
the diversity of cultures was so great that such
tests proved impossible to develop. Researchers
had to content themselves with the attempt to
establish tests which instead of being completely
free of cultural influences, allowed a fair assessment of those from other cultures. Such culture
fair tests are psychometric which do not provide
an advantage to members of one culture over
another. In which do not provide an advantage to
members of one culture over another. In practice,
however culture-fair tests are extremely difficult to
achieve owing to cultural diversity which not only
produces differences in background knowledge
and skills, but also in motivation and attitudes to
tests. It is very difficult for those compiling the
tests to be fully aware of their own cultural
assumptions. It could also be argued that since
the culture itself if not fair, a biased test will give
more accurate prediction. e.g., a test which gives

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


an advantage to middle class academic values will

more accurately predict which children will do best
in school.
Cultural psychiatry: Branch of psychiatry concerned
with mental illness in relation to the cultural
environment. Symptoms regarded as psychopathological in one cultural setting may be acceptable
and normal in another.
Cultural relativism: The view that patterns of understanding found in different cultures are as good as
each other. This view point has implications for
method, philosophic position, the evaluation of
values and for attitude towards culture change.
Culture shock: A state of social isolation, anxiety and
depression resulting ehen a person is suddenly
placed in an alien culture or reenters his or her own
culture after a prolonged absence, or has divided
loyalities to two or more cultures. It is common
among immigrants, but can occur also when life
circumstances change radically within a society.
Culture-specific syndromes: Forms of disturbed
behaviour specific to certain cultural systems that
often do not conform to western nosologic entities,
commonly cited syndromes are:
Syndrome Culture





Indian subcontinent


Chinese, S.E.


S.E. Asia

Acute indiscriminate
homicidal mania.
Anxiety or depression,
somatic symptoms
produced by a belief of
passive semen in urine.
Fear of retraction of
penis into abdomen with
the belief that this will lead
to death.
Startle-induced disorganization, hypersuggesti-

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Possession S.E. Asia






bility, automatic obedience,

and echo-praxia.
Dissociative states produced by a belief of being
possession by a godess or
evil spirit.
Attacks of screaming, crying, and running naked
through the snow.
Delusions of being
Indians possessed by a
cannabalistic monster
(windigo), attacks of agitated depression, oral sadistic fears and impulses.

Cunnilingus: Use of the mouth or tongue to stimulate

the female genitalia.
Current material: Data from present interpersonal
experiences. See also Genetic material.
Cybernetics: The scientific study of regulatory


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Da Costas syndrome: Chest pain, palpitations, and
light-headedness occurring as a somatic manifestation of pathological anxiety. It is also called neurocirculatory asthenia and soldiers heart.
Dance therapy: A therapeutic modality that uses body
movement as a form of nonverbal expression to
rehabilitate people with mental or physical disorders. It was pioneered by Marian Chase in 1940.
Daydreaming: The activity of engaging in fantasies or
imaginative speculations during quiescent waking
periods. Some research suggests that daydreaming
may be instrumental in promoting positive mental
health for the individual, perhaps through the
clarification of goals and ambitions.
Day hospital: A hospital setup in which a patient spends
the day in the hospital and returns home at night.
See also Night hospital. Partial hospitalization,
Weekend hospital.
Day residue: Any element of a dream that is clearly
derived from some event of the previous day. The
day residue is often useful in deciphering meaning
from the dream.
Deaggressification: The process by which infantile
aggressive Energy (see also Aggression) loses its
primitive, aggressive quality when the impulses
to which it is attached participate in Sublimation.
See Neutralization, Autonomous. Function of the

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Death instinct: Freudian concept, also called Thanatos,

of an unconscious drive toward dissolution and
death, operating in opposition to the life instinct
(Eros) see also instinct, Life instinct.
Decay theory of memory: The theory that information
in memory eventually disappears if it is not reactivated; it appears to be more plausible for shortterm than long-term memory.
Decent ration: The process by which an individual is
able to step out of his own mental perspective,
and to take another persons point of view.
According to Piaget, the ability to decent ire only
emerge during the pre-operational stage, and forms
a part of the gradual reduction of egocentrism
which Piaget saw as central to cognitive development.
Decision theory: Any theory which attempts to explain
how decisions are made. In practice the term is
most often applied to theories which apply
mathematical models to human decision processes.
de Cleramhaults syndrome (Pure erotomania):
Delusional belief that another person (the object)
often of unattainably higher social status loves
the patient ( the subject, usually a female) intensely.
Primary or Pure erotomania, is an isolated phenomenon whereas secondary type is much common
in the setting of paranoid, manic or other disorder.
Decoding: Technical term for the process of understanding spoken language.
Decompensation: The deterioration of existing
defenses, leading to an exacerbation of pathologic
Decomposition: In psychiatry, the division of a person
into separate personalities or identities, as seen in
the paranoid schizophrenic who splits the persecutor into separate entities.
Deductive reasoning: Reasoning from the general to
the particular; drawing a conclusion that follows
necessarily from certain premises.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Deep structure: A term coined by the linguist Noam

Chomsky to describe the universal properties of
basic grammar, supposedly common to all languages. It was the similarities of deep structure which
allowed for chomskys proposed innate language
acquisition device; a theoretical construction by
which he explained the infants readiness to acquire
human language.
Defect: A lasting and irreversible impairment of any
particular psychological function (e.g., cognitive
defect) of the general development of mental
capacities (mental defect) or of the characteristic
pattern of thought, feeling and behaviour constituting the individual personality. A defect in any
one of the se areas can be either innate or acquired.
A characteristic defect state of the personality,
ranging in its manifestations from loss of intellectual and emotional vigour, or mild eccentricities of
behaviour, to autistic withdrawal or affective blunting, has been held by Kraepelin (18561926) and
Bleuler (18571939) to be a hallmark of the outcome
of schizophrenic illness (see also: personality
change), in contradistinction from manic-depressive
psychosis. The ubiquity of outcome into defect in
the schizophrenic disorders is not supported by
more recent research, not is its irreversibility.
Defence: A general designation for all the techniques
which the ego makes use of in conflicts which may
lead to neurosisFreud (1922). The function of
defence is to protect the Ego and defences may be
instigated by (a) Anxiety, due to a bad Conscience
(Super-ego threats ); or (b) realistic dangers. The
concept of defence is usually stated in terms which
imply that the human ego is beset by threats to
this survival emanating from the Id, the super-ego
and the outside world, and that is, therefore,
perpetually on the defensive. But the concept is
better regarded less negatively and taken to include
all techniques used by the ego to master, control
canalize and use forces which may lead to Neurosis.
The concept also implies that neurosis is due to a

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


failure of defence, according to this view the

Inhibitions resulting from successful Repression
are not neurotic symptoms. Anna Freud (1937) lists
nine defences: Regression, Repression, ReactionFormation, Isolation, Undoing, Projection, Introjection, Turning Against the Self & Reversal plus
a tenth, Sublimation, which pertains rather to the
study of the normal than to that of neurosisSplitting and Denial are also usually listed as
defences. Since psychoanalysis holds that anxiety
is a spur to development, some perhaps all, of the
defences play a part in normal development and it
is usually assumed that certain defences belong
to specific stages of development, e.g., introjection,
projection, denial and splitting to the Oral phase,
reaction-formation, isolation and undoing to the
Anal phase. See also Technique.
Defence mechanism: Unconscious process acting to
relieve conflict and anxiety arising from ones
impulses and drives. See also compensation,
Conversion, Denial, Displacement, Dissociation,
Idealization, Incorporation, Intellectualization,
Introjection, Projection, Rationalization, Reaction
formation, Regression Repression, Sublimation,
Substitution, Symbolization, Undoing.
Defensive emotion: Strong feeling that serves as a
screen for a less acceptable feeling, one that would
cause a person to experience anxiety if it appeared.
For example expressing the emotion of anger is
often more acceptable to a patient than expressing
the fear that his anger covers up. In that instance,
anger is defensive.
Deficiency motive: A motivation that arises because of
a perceived deficiency of some kind. The deficiency
can range from physiological (e.g., food) to higher
needs, such as that for recognition. Deficiency
motives are distinguished from abundancy
motives in which it is judged that the organism is
trying to acquire more of the material than is needed
for comfortable survival.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Degeneration: In neurophysiology, the deterioration

of neural tissue which occurs through lack of
stimulation, injury, or lack of nutrients. In stimulus
deprivation studies, some damaged perceptual
functioning which was originally thought to result
from cognitive deficits was later found to be caused
by neural degeneration.
Deindividuation: The process by which individuals
come to feel that they are simply part of a corporate
entity, such as group or crowd members. Deindividuation involves the individuals surrendering the
immediate perception of independence and autonomy, and feeling as though they have merged
anonymously with the other people involved. It is
commonly found in military units in action and in
Deinstitutionalization: Change in locus of mental
health care from traditional, institutional setting to
community-based services. Sometimes called transinstitutionalization because it often merely shifts
the patients from one institution (the hospital) to
another (such as a prison).
Deixis: The notion of deixis refers to linguistic expressions which signal the contextual existence of
persons, objects and similar orientational features.
Deictic words include personal pronouns, adverbials of time and place and expression signaling an
honorific dimension.
Deja entendu: Illusion that what one is hearing one has
heard previously. See also Paramnesia.
Deja pense: A condition in which a thought never
entertained before is incorrectly regarded as a
repetition of a previous thought.
Dj vu: Illusion of visual recognition in which a new
situation incorrectly regarded as a repetition of a
previous experience. See also Paramnesia.
Delayed conditioning: A form of classical conditioning
in which the conditioned stimulus is presented
several seconds before the conditioned stimulus,
but with both coming to an end at the same time.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Body comparison with simultaneous conditioning

or trace conditioning, delayed conditioning is
considered to be the most effective.
Delay-learning phenomenon (or delayed association):
Denotes any case where associative learning
depends on bridging a long interval between events.
Delinquent act: Antisocial action by children or young
people, mostly offences against property and
larceny, but also including violent and sexual
crimes, truancy from school, early drinking and
drug abuse, and, generally refusal to conform to
social rules.
Delirium: An acute, reversible organic mental disorder
characterized by confusion and some impairment
of consciousness. It is generally associated with
emotional liability, hallucinations or illusions, and
inappropriate, impulsive, irrational, or violent
Delirium tremens: An acute and sometimes fatal
reaction to withdrawal from alcohol, usually
occurring 72 to 96 hours after the ceszation of heavy
drinking. Its distinctive characteristic is marked
autonomic hereactivity (tachycardia, fever, hyperhidrosis, dilated pupils), which is usually accompanied by tremulousness, hallucinations or
illusions, and delusions. See also Formication.
Delirium Verborum: Delirious state in which the patient
is excessively talkative.
Delusion: A false belief that is firmly held, despite
objective and obvious contradictory proof or
evidence and despite the fact that other members
of the culture do not share the belief. Types of
delusion include Bizzare delusion. False belief that
is patently absurd or fantastic. Delusion of control.
Delusion that a persons thoughts, feelings, or
actions are not his own bur are being imposed on
him by some external force. Delusion of grandeur.
(grandiose delusion). Exaggerated concept of ones


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

importance, power, knowledge, or identity, Delusion

of jealousy (delusion of infidelity). Delusion that
ones lover is unfaithful. Delusion of persecution.
Delusion that one is being attacked, harassed,
cheated, or conspired against. Delusion of poverty.
Delusion that one is or will be without material
possessions. Delusion of reference. Delusion that
events, objects, or the behaviour of others have a
particular and unusual meaning specifically for
oneself. Encapsulated delusion. Delusion without
significant effect on behaviour. Fragmentary
delusion. Poorly elaborated delusion, often one of
many with no apparent interconnection. Nihilistic
delusion (delusion of negation) Depressive
delusion that the world and everything related to
it have ceased to exist. Paranoid delusion. Delusion
of persecution and grandiose delusion. Religious
delusion. Delusion involving the Deity of theological themes. Sexual delusion. Delusion centering
on sexual identity, appearances practices, or ideas,
Somatic delusion. Delusion pertaining to the
functioning of ones body. Systematized delusion.
A group of elaborate delusions related to a single
event or theme.
Delusion, mood-congruent: See Mood congruent
psychotic features
Delusion mood incongruent: See Mood incongruent
psychotic features
Demand characteristics: The sum total of cues
(derived from the manner in which the subject is
solicited. The manner in which he is treated by the
experimenter, the scuttlebutt about the experiment,
the experimental instructions, and, most important,
the experimental procedure itself) that communicates the purpose of the experiment and the nature
of the behaviour expected of the subject. Subjects
may confirm the investigators hypothesis an effort
to behave appropriately rather than responding
directly to the independent variable under
investigation. By extensions, as applied to non-

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


experimental settings, the tendency of individuals

to live up to what is implicitly expected of them, a
factor that may play a major role in the outcome of
Dementia: An organic mental disorder characterized
by general impairment in intellectual functioning.
Frequent components of the clinical syndrome are
failing memory, difficulty with calculations, distractibility, alterations in mood and affect, impairment
in judgement and abstraction reduced facility with
language, and disturbance or orientation. Although
generally irreversible because of under lying progressive degenerative brain disease, dementia may
be reversible if the cause can be treated. Treatable
causes of dementia include brain tumour, subdural
hematoma, normal-pressure hydrocephalus,
vitamin B 12 deficiency, liver disease, syphilis,
poisoning with bromides or other toxins (metals),
Uremia, hypothyroidism, hyoeradrenocorticism,
hypercalcemia, and lung carcinoma; all have been
reported to produce dementia in their clinical
pictures See also Amentia.
Dementia precos: Obsolete term for schizophrenia.
Dementia subcortical: First described by S.A.K. Wilson
(1912). Dysfunction of subcortical structures
results in abnormalities in speed of information
processing attention and concentration, memory,
word list generation, abstraction, categorization,
judgement, problem resolutions, strategy formulation and visuospatial abilities. The common
causes are Parkinsons disease, Huntingtons
vhorea. Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)
Wilsons disease, idiopathic basal ganglion calcification, spinocerebellar degeneration etc.
Denial: A defense mechanism, operating unconsciously, used to resolve emotional conflict and
allay anxiety by disavowing thoughts, feelings,
wishes, needs, or external reality factors that are
consciously intolerable.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Denotative meaning: The specific or symbolic meaning

of an utterance or term. The denotative meaning of
something is that which is simply and necessarily
contained in the use of that term, without any of
the additional associations or implications which
is listener may understand. See also connotative
Dependence, drug: See drug dependence.
Dependence on therapy: Patients pathological need
for therapy, created out of the belief that he cannot
survive without it.
Dependency: A state of reliance on another, as for
security, love, protection, or mothering.
Dependency needs: Vital needs for mothering, love,
affection, shelter, protection, security, food, and
warmth. May be a manifestation of regression when
they reappear openly in adults.
Dependent personality disorder: A personality disorder
characterized by lack of self confidence, a tendency
to have others assume responsibility for significant
areas of ones life, and a subordination of ones
own needs and wishes to those of the others on
whom on is dependent. Solitude is extremely
discomforting to a person with the disorder.
Dependent variable: The variable which is measured as
an indicator of the outcome of an experiment. If
you set up an experiment to assess the effect of
coffee on speed of essay writing, the dependent
variable would be the measure of writing speed.
The dependent variable is so named because, if
the experimental hypotheses is valid, its value will
depend on the condition of the independent
variable which has been set up.
Depersonalization: Senzation of unreality concerning
oneself, parts of oneself, or ones environment
which occurs under extreme stress or fatigue. It is
seen in schizophrenia, depersonalization disorder,
the schizotypal personality disorder. See also Ego

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Depersonalization disorder: In DSM, a dissociative

disorder characterized by a feeling that ones reality
is temporarily lost. Also known as depersonalization neurosis.
Depression: A mental state characterized by feeling of
sadness, loneliness, despair, low esteem, and self
reproach. The term refers either to a mood that is
so characterized or to an affective disorder. Accompanying signs include psychomotor retardation or
at times agitation, withdrawal from interpersonal
contact and vegetative symptoms, such as insomnia and anorexia. See also Anaclitic Dysthymic
disorder, Grief, Major depression.
Depressive position: A Kleinian concept, it describes
the position reached (in her scheme of things) by
the infants (or by the patient in analysis) when he
realizes that both his Love and Hate are directed
towards the same objectthe mother becomes
aware of his ambivalence and concerned to protect
her from his hate and to make reparation for what
damage he imagines his hate has done. Since
Kleins system includes the death instinct and
innate hostility and envy of the mother, his crisis
is conceived as playing an essential part in every
infants development regardless of the quality of
its mothering, and its outcome is held to determine
all later development. Healthy and neurotic persons
are considered to have passed the depressive
position while persons with depressive problems
are fixated at it and persons with schizoid and
paranoid problems have failed to reach it. See
paranoid-schizoid position. See Segal (1964).
Deprivation emotional: Relative lack of environmental
or interpersonal experience during the early
development years. See also Sensory deprivation.
Depth psychology: The psychology of unconscious
mental processes. Also a system of psychology in
which the study of such processes plays a major
role, as in psychoanalysis.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Derealization: Sometimes changed reality or that ones

surrounding have altered. It is usually seen in
schizophrenics, See also Ego boundaries.
Dereism: Mental activity that follows a totally subjective and idiosyncratic system of logic and fails
to take the facts of reality or experience into
consideration. See also Autistic thinking.
Descriptive psychiatry: A system of psychiatry
focusing primarily on the study of observable
symptoms and behavioural phenomena, rather than
underlying psychodynamic processes. Kraepelins
systematic description of mental illness was an early
example. See also Dynamic psychiatry.
Desensitization: A procedure which will reduce the
responsiveness of the subject. Used mostly for
behavioural techniques which reduce or eliminate
inappropriate emotional responses, usually anxiety.
The basic procedure is to present weak forms of
the feared stimulus while using stronger forms of a
stimulus is then gradually increased in strength
without triggering the fear response. The standard
procedure is called systematic desensitization and
is an example of counter conditioning.
Desexualization: The process by which infantile
libidinal energy loses its primitive, erotic quality
when the Pregenital impulses to which it is attached
participate in sublimation and Ego Development.
See Libidinal Development, Infantile, Neutralization, Autonomous, Functions of the Ego.
Designer drugs: Addictive drugs that are synthesized
or manufactured to give the same subjective effects
as well known illicit drugs. Since the process is a
covert operation there is great difficulty in tracing
the manufacturer to check the drugs for adverse
Destrudo: Rarely used term for the energy of the death
instinct and therefore analogous to the libido of
the life-instinct.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Detachment: A behaviour pattern characterized by

general aloofness in interpersonal contact; may
include intellectualization, denial and superficiality.
Determinism: Concept that nothing occurs by chance
alone; instead, things result from specific causes
or forces. This school of thought denies the notion
of free will.
Determinism, Psychic: The assumption made Freud
that mental phenomena have causes in whatever
sense physical ones do. See Freuds views on
causality, determinism and free will and their
relation to the scientific thought of this time. He
seems to have held that demonstration of the
existence of unconscious mental processes proved
the assumption of determinism, since it made it
possible to assert that conscious processes were
the effects of unconscious ones. He did not however, regard consciousness as a mere epiphenomenon, but as a regulator capable of a more
stable control and guidance of the flow of mental
processesJones Copcit. The assumption of
psychic determinism, at least as usually stated,
leaves no place in analytical theory for a self or
agent initiating action or defence or for the use of
explanations other than causal ones.
Detoxification: Treatment by the use of medication,
diet, rest, fluids and nursing care to restore
physiologic functioning after it has been seriously
disturbed by the over use of alcohol, barbiturates
or other addictive drugs.
Development: The processes of change over the life
span. One aspect is physical development which
is strongly influenced by generic tendencies. The
other is psychological development which is much
more directly influenced by environmental factors.
Development disorder: A handicap or impairment
originating before the age of 18 which may be
expected to continue indefinitely and which
constitutes a substantial impairment. The disability
may be attributable to mental retardation, cerebral


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

palsy, epilepsy, or other neurologic conditions and

may include autism.
Developmental norms: The expected level of performance of children at a specific age. For example, in
a given population the norms for the number of
words spoken might be 50 at 18 months, 400 at
three years etc. Developmental norms can be used
to give a precise indication of how uncommon any
unusual performance as being exceptionally poor
is only the first step in deciding whether any further
action is desirable.
Developmental Psychology: The psychological study
of development. Some distinction is made between
developmental psychology which is the study of
the laws and processes of development, and child
psychology which is more focused on empirical
techniques for studying children at specific ages.
However the terms are often used fairly interchangeably, and the phrase experimental child
psychology has come into use to preserve the
distinction. Major theories of development have
been propounded by Freud, Gesell and Piaget,
among others. All of the large scale theories were
established in the first half of this century, and
most are restricted to childhood. However, there is
reason to believe that development continues
throughout adulthood. The field of life span
developmental psychology has to therefore become active in recent years but as yet has no
major theory as a basis. In fact developmental
psychology in general seems to be proceeding quite
adequately at present without much reliance on
overall theories of development. Instead there are
theories to deal with restricted areas such as attachment and language and a focus on a number of
more or less practical issues. The areas of greatest
current interest include: the growth of cognitive
and social competence; the nature-nurture or
generic-environment debate, the question of continuity; applications to education and to parenting;

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


the importance of play and creativity and most

recently the family.
Deviation: Departure from the average or norm.
Dhat syndrome: It is a culture-bound sexual neurosis
quite common in the south east Asia in which a
patient presents with somatic complaints along with
feeling of physical and mental exhaustion attributed
to the passage of a whitish discharge with urine
(Dhat) believed to be semen by the patient, although
there is no objective evidence of such discharge. It
was first described by N.N. Wig (1960).
Diagnosis: The process of determining, through examination and analysis, the nature of a patients
Diagnostic and statistical Manual of Mental Disorder:
A handbook for the classification of mental
illnesses. Formulated by the American Psychiatric
Association. It was first issued in 1952 (DSM-I).
The second edition (DSMII) issued in 1968,
correlates closely with the eighth edition of the
World Health Organizations International
classification of Diseases. The third edition (DSMIII) issued in 1980, departs more widely from that
classification. The revised edition DSM III came
in 1987 (DSM-III-R) and fourth edition in 1992
Dialogue: Verbal communication between two or
more persons.
Dichotic listening task: A method of investigating
selective attention by presenting two different
messages through the two sides of headphones,
and asking the subject to attend to one only.
Dichotic listening tasks are usually, monitored by
asking the subject to engage in shadowingspeaking the attended message out loud as they
Differential diagnosis: The determination of which of
two or more diseases with similar symptoms is the
one that afflicts the patient.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Differential reinforcement: Procedure in which

desirable behaviour is reinforced and problematic
or less desirable behaviour is extinguished or
Diglossia: (Fwerguson, 1959) It refers to a situation in
which two varieties of a language are used in
different social functions or domains within a
speech community.
Dipsomania: Compulsion to drink alcoholic beverages.
Disability: Defined by the Federal Government as Inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity
by reason of any medically determinable physical
or mental impairment which can be expected to last
or has lasted for a continuous period of not less
than 12 full months.
Disconnection syndrome: Term coined by Norman
Geschwind (19261984) to describe the interruption of information transferred from one brain
region to another.
Discordance: A research term used in studies of twins
to indicate the degree of dissimilarity between the
two members of each pair with respect to a particular trait. See also Concordance.
Discovery learning: A form of educational practice
studied particularly by J.S. Bruner, in which
students operate mainly by deduction and inference, with guidance and resources being provided
by the teacher. Discovery learning emphasizes the
students own activity and enquiry, rather than the
teachers transmission of information.
Discrimination: Process of distinguishing between
different but often similar stimuli and reacting
appropriately. The term also refers more specifically
to the occurrence of operant behaviour in environments in which the behaviour has been reinforced
but not in those in which it has not been reinforced.
See also Discriminative stimulus.
Discriminative Stimulus: An environmental even correlating with the operation of a certain reinforcement

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


matrix, such that behaviour that has been reinforced

in the presence of the stimulus but not in it absence
tends to occur only when the stimulus is present.
Disembedded thought: Thinking which is not applied
in a relevant context, but is required to take place
independent of context. Many of the criticisms put
forward of piagetian approaches to the understanding of the childs cognition centre around
the idea that the child was required to engage in
disembedded tasks; and that when the tasks were
out in an appropriate social context, children were
noticeably more successful at them.
Disengagement: A theory of ageing put forward by
Cummings and Henry in 1961, in which it was
proposed that the elderly undergo a process of
systematic disengagement or withdrawal from
society, reducing the amount of participation in
and integration with society. The process was
thought of as a way of coping with the deaths and
illnesses of partners and friends, and as a possible
preparation for approaching death Cunnings and
Henry proposed that this behaviour had a possible
biological origin. The theory has been heavily criticized, mainly on the grounds that social pressure
on old people to withdraw from society is high,
and that for many, society affords few alternatives
to withdrawal. Social exchange process have been
suggested as possible alternative models.
Disinhibition: Freedom to act according to ones inner
drives or feelings, with less regard for restraints
imposed by cultural norms or ones supergo;
removal of an inhibitory constraining, or limiting
influence, as in the escape from higher cortical
control in neurologic injury, or in uncontrolled firing
of impulses when a drug interferes with the usual
limiting or inhibiting action of GABA within the
central nervous system.
Disintegrative psychosis: A Heterogeneous group of
conditions usually commencing at the age of three
or four years when, after general premonitory


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

symptoms, the hitherto normal child develops, over

a few months, loss of speech and of social skills
accompanied by hyperactivity, stereotyped motor
behaviour, a severe impairment of emotional
response, and usually but not necessarily, of
intellectual capacity. Clinical evidence of neurological disease is uncommon but the psychosis
may result from a variety of illness which damage
the brain (e.g., measles encephalitis). The outcome
is poor, most children becoming mentally retarded
and incapable of speech. Comment: The syndrome
was originally described as dementia infantilis by
Heller in 1930. Synonyms: Hellers syndrome;
childhood onset pervasive developmental disorder.
Disorganized schizophrenia: A DSMIII term replacing
hebephrenic schizophrenia. See also Hebephrenia.
Disorientation: Impairment of awareness of time, place,
and the position of the self in relation to other
persons; confusion. It is characteristic of organic
mental disorders.
Displaced aggression: Aggressive behaviour which is
directed towards a target which is not the original
source of frustration. Typically, aggression becomes
displaced because the original target is unreachable, or because it would be inexpedient for the
individual to direct aggression towards the original.
For instance, it may be dangerous for someone to
express directly the aggressive feelings generated
by an unpleasant boss, and such feelings may
become displaced onto family member instead.
Displacement: A defence mechanism of channeling
undesired or inexpedient impulses to alternative
outlets. An example would be the application of
aggressive tendencies to becoming the best chess
player in the college. When the outcome of displacement is regarded as socially desirable the process
is also called sublimation.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Display: A pattern of social behaviour that is speciesspecific and forms a part of the communicative
system within or between social groups or between
Disposition: A tendency to behave in a particular way,
when used by developmental or clinical psychologists the term implies an inherited tendency, and
is used interchangeably with predisposition. When
used in the context of motivation and personality
it is a general term for any relatively stable behavioural tendency and no genetic basis is implied.
Dispositional attribution: Believing that a persons
behaviour is caused by his character or personality,
rather than the situation that he is in. People are
usually more likely to make dispositional attributions about the behaviour of other people and
to account for their own behaviour in terms of the
situation they were in. See also attribution error,
situational attribution.
Dissociation: The splitting off of clusters of mental
contents from conscious awareness, a mechanism
central to hysterical conversion and dissociative
disorders; the separation of an idea from its
emotional significance and affect as seen in the
inappropriate affect if schizophrenic patients.
Dissociative disorder: A mental disorder characterized
by a sudden, temporary alteration in consciousness, identity, or motor behaviour. In DSMIII the
dissociative disorders include psychogenic amnesia,
psychogenic fugue, multiple personality, and
depersonalization disorder.
Dissonance: A state in which a cognitive discrepancy
is produced between two events such that one
cognition is in direct contradiction to another.
Typically, such cognitive dissonance results in
attitude change, such that the dissonance is
Distinctiveness: A concept in attribution theory which
concerns how unique an event or behaviour is.
Distinctiveness is one of three major criteria used


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

to formulate attributions for any given situation.

The other criteria are consistency and consensus.
Distortion: Misrepresentation of reality. In psychoanalysis, it also refers to the process of modifying
unacceptable unconscious mental elements so that
they are allowed to enter consciousness in a more
acceptable but disguised form.
Distractible speech: Pattern of speech in which the
person repeatedly changes subjects in response
to nearby stimuli.
Distractibility: Inability to maintain attention; shifting
from one area or topic to another with minimal
provocation. Distractibility may be a manifestation
of organic impairment or it may be a part of a
function disorder such as anxiety states, mania or
Distributed practice: A procedure during learning in
which time gaps are interspersed during the
practice. For example, if you were trying to learn
the contents of a chapter, you would take a short
break at the end of each page. This approach has
been found to lead to more effective learning than
massed practice in which no breaks are taken.
Distribution: The pattern made by a set of scores when
grouped according to frequency. Theoretical distributions are the pattern that would be produced by
scores that conformed precisely to a mathematically defined function. The most important of
these is the normal distribution, but each statistic
has its own distribution.
Distributive analysis and synthesis: Therapeutic
application of Adolf Meyers psychobiological
school psychiatry. Systematic investigation of the
patients entire past experience yields a constructive synthesis of his assets and liabilities and
leads to an effort to enable him to adapt to his
Divergent thinking: Thought which ranges far more
widely than is conventional. Tests of divergent

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


thinking are often included in creativity tests, as it

is assumed that highly creative individuals will be
able to utilize novel frameworks more readily than
those with a more conventional style of cognition.
See convergent thinking.
Dix, Dorothea Lynde (18021887): Foremost nineteenth century American crusader for the improvement of institutional care of the mentally ill.
Doctor-patient relationship: Human interchange that
exists between the person who is sick and the
person who is selected because of training and
experience to heal.
Dogmatism (closed mindedness): A somewhat unfashionable term, related to the idea of close
mindedness or the inability to form new cognitive
systems of various kinds.
Dominance: A predisposition to play a prominent or
controlling role when interacting with others. In
neurology the (normal) tendency of one-half of
the brain to be more important than the other in
medicating various functions (cerebral dominance).
In genetics, the ability of one gene (dominant gene)
to express itself in the phenotype of an individual,
even though that gene is paired with another
(recessive gene) that would have expressed itself
in a different way.
Dominance hierarchy: A concept first proposed in 1922
by Schjelderup-Ebbe, after observation of a
consistent order of precedence among hens when
given restricted access to food supplies. Dominance hierarchies became popular as ethological
concepts throughout the 1950s and 1960s and
were considered to present a basic model of social
organization for most social animal, but the existence of linear dominance hierarchies has been
increasingly called into question by ethologists in
recent years.
Dopamine: A neurosynaptic transmitter found in the
brain, specially associated with some forms of
psychosis and abnormal movement disorders.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Double bind: According to Bateson, et al. (towards a

theory of schizophrenia, 1956) the childhood of
future schizophrenics is characterized by, repeated
experiences of being put into a double bind by,
typically, their mothers. This experience consists
in being made the object of incompatible, contradictory emotional demands in a situation in which
there is no avenue of escape and in which no other
member of family rescues the child from bind by
either compensating for or correcting the mothers
behaviour or by elucidating it to the child. The
schizophrenics response to a double bind is to
lose the capacity to distinguish the logical status
of thoughts. In other words, his defence against
confusion, and his own and his mothers ambivalence, is to lose the capacity to understand those
nuances which enable one to have insight into
motives and to appreciate discrepancies between
overt and concealed meanings. In any language, a
double bind is an impossible position. Strictly
speaking the double bind is not a psychoanalytical
concept, since it refers to an interpersonal situation
and not to an internal conflict, or developmental
process. Although, originally formulated as a
theory of schizophrenia, it has been adduced as
an explanation of neurotic behaviour. The possibility that an analyst may put a patient into a double
bind has also been envisaged.
Double-blind study: A study in which one or more drugs
and a placebo are compared in such a way that
neither the patient not the persons directly or
indirectly involved in the study known which is
being given to the patient. The drug being investigated and the placebo are coded.
Downs syndrome: An abnormality of an autosomal
chromosome, associated with mental retardation
and characteristic physical features. In most cases
the anomaly consists in trisomy of a chromosome
of the G group; the remainder may exhibit D/G

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


translocation. G/G translocation or mosaicism. The

incidence of Downs syndrome has been estimated
as close to 1 in 550 live births, with a relationship
to late maternal age. The degree of mental retardation varies but the IQ level on standard tests in
rarely above 70. Physical features include characteristic mongoloid facies, single palmar creases,
a large fissured tongue, hypotonia, retarded growth
and congenital cardiac and gastrointestinal defects.
The condition was originally described by John
Langdon Haydon Down (18281896). Synonyms;
Mongolism, Langdon Downs disease; autosomal
trisomy G; congenital acromicria trisomy 21.
Dranes test: in a patient with monocular blindness (of
organic origin), if prism is placed before defective
eye, it will not impair reading; whereas in a patient
with blindness of functional (hysteria or malingering) origin, it will impair reading.
Drawing test: Any of a variety of psychological tests
in which the subject is asked to draw certain familiar
objects, such as people trees, and houses. Altitudes and feelings are often revealed in the way
the subject depicts those objects.
Dread: Anxiety related to a specific danger.
Dream: Mental activity during sleep in which thoughts,
emotions, and images are experienced as though
real. It is associated with rapid eye movement
(REM) sleep. The dream was regarded by Freud as
providing an outlet for the discharge in disguised
form of unconscious and often acceptable
impulses and wishes.
Dream analysis: Finding hidden meanings in disguised
symbolic form by interpreting the content of
dreams. Dreams analysis is a particular tool of the
psychoanalytic schools of thought proposed by
Freud and Jung. It is considered to form an
important set of clues to the unconscious mind,
because dreaming is thought to express levels of


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

unconscious wish fulfillment expressive of the

individuals deepest conflicts and desires.
Dream work: A term used by Freud to mean the complex
process by which unconscious wishes and
fantasies are disguised in dreams, appearing in
symbolic form.
Dreamy state: An altered state of consciousness,
likened to a dream situation, that develops suddenly
and from which the patient usually recovers within
a few minutes. It is accompanied by visual, auditory
and olfactory hallucinations and is most commonly
associated with temporal lesions.
Drive: A hypothetical construct used to explain
motivated behaviour. It refers to a basic urge that
produces a state of psychic tension that motivates
the person into action to alleviate the tension. The
term is currently preferred over Freuds term
instinct. See also Aggressive drive, sexual drive.
Drive-reduction theory: The theory that motivation
occurs, and behaviour is energized mainly or
entirely as a result of the need to alleviate or reduce
drives. It is a rather negative theory in that it
assumes that all drives produce tension or arousal
and that the organism is always motivated to
minimize drive states. The failure to encompass
enjoyment and activities which deliberately
increase arousal (like exploration and sky diving)
was one reason for the decline of the theory.
Drug abuse: The self-administration of a medicinal or
pleasurable substance in a quantity or manner that
impairs health or social functioning. The term has
prorative overtones so it is advisable to restricts
its use to indicate the malevolence of an individual,
or of his or her behaviour.
Drug abuse, nondependent: Self-administration of a drug
without dependence (as defined in drug dependence below), to the detriment of ones health or
social functioning. Drug abuse may be secondary

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


to a psychiatric disorder. The term, and the concept

on which it is based, have been contested in the
light of evidence that dependent and nondependent abuse of drugs cannot be reliably distinguished.
Drug dependence: A state, psychic and sometimes also
physical, resulting from taking a drug, characterized
by behavioural and other responses that always
include a compulsion to take a drug on a continuous or periodic basis in order to experience its
psychic effects, and sometimes to avoid the
discomfort of the absence. Tolerance may or may
not be present. A person may be dependent on
more than one drug. Synonyms: drug addiction;
Drug Tolerance: Repeated use of some substance or
drug, often narcotics, so that larger and larger doses
are required to produce the same physiologic and
/or psychologic effect obtained previously by a
smaller dose.
Drug withdrawal syndrome: State associated with the
discontinuation of the taking of a drug, ranging
from severe, as specified for alcohol (delirium
tremens), to less severe states characterized by
one or more symptoms such as convulsions,
tremor, anxiety, restlessness, gastrointestinal and
muscular complaints, and mild disorientation and
memory disturbance. Synonym: abstinence
Drunkenness, pathological: Acute psychotic episode
induced by relatively small amounts of alcohol.
These are regarded as individual idiosyncratic
reaction to alcohol, not due to excessive consumption, and without conspicuous neurological signs
of intoxication. Synonym: alcohol idiosyncratic
Dualism: The view that the mind is a separate entity
that exists apart from the body and other aspects
of material reality.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Dual leadership: See Co-therapy.

Dual-memory theory: A model of memory first proposed
by William James, in 1890, and later developed by
(among other) Miller and Atkinson and Shiffrin.
Dual memory theory postulates two independent
memory systems, a limited-capacity, immediate or
short-term memory, and a large-capacity, long-term
memory. The Atkinson & Shiffrin model proposes
that short-term memory forms a first state to longterm memory storage, and that material is
transferred from STM to LTM by means of
rehearsal. See also levels of processing.
Dual-Sex Therapy: A specific form of psychotherapy
developed by William Masters and Virginia
Johnson, in which treatment is focused on a
particular sexual disorder. The crux of the program
is the round-table session, in which both a male
therapist and a female therapist are present with
the patient couple. Special exercise are prescribed
for the couple, the overall goal being to diminish
fears of sexual performance and to facilitate
communication in sexual and non-sexual areas.
Durham rule: Federal court ruling in 1954 holding that
an accused is not criminally responsible if his
unlawful act was the product of mental disease or
mental defect. It has since been replaced by the
American Law Institute formulation of insanity,
which states that a person is not responsible for
criminal conduct if at the time of such conduct as
result of mental disease or defect he lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the wrongfulness
of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the
requirements of law. See also Competency to stand
trial, Insanity MNughten rules.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Eating disorder: A disorder characterized by a marked
disturbance in eating behaviour. In DSM, the eating
disorders include anorexia, bulimia, pica, and
rumination disorder of infancy.
Ecdemomania, ecdemonomia: Morbid impulse to travel
or wander about.
Echolalia: Repetition of another persons words or
phrase. Observed in certain cases of schizophrenia,
particularly the catatonic types. The behaviour is
considered by some authors to be an attempt by
the patient to maintain a continuity of thought
processes. See also Communication disorder, Gilles
de la Tourettes disease.
Echopraxia: Repetition of another persons movements.
It is observed in some cases of catatonic schizophrenia.
Echul: A culture specific syndrome described in native
Americans in Southern California consisting sexual
anxiety and convulsions related to severe stress,
such as death and spouse.
Ecology: The study of environment, with an underlying
assumption that environment characteristics are
responsible for the ways organisms function.
Ecological validity: The extent to which controlled
experimental results can be generalized beyond the
confines of the particular experimental context of a
variety of contexts in the real world.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Ecomania: Morbid attitude towards the members of

ones family.
Encounters: One who obtains gratifications through
listening to sexual accouters; eavesdropper; the
audible counterpart of voyeur.
Ecouteurism: Sexual pleasure obtained from sounds
or listening to sexual or toilet activities of others.
Ecstasy: State of rapturous delight.
ECT: See electroconvulsive therapy.
Ectomorphic: Thin; one of Sheldons constitutional
types. See also constitutional types, Endomorphic,
Educable: Capable of achieving a fourth-grade academic
level. The term describes the mildly mentally
retarded (I.Q. of 50 to 70.) See also Mental retardation. Trainable.
Educational psychology: One of the major professions
of psychologists. In Britain practitioners are
employed within the educational system to deal
with psychological issues concerning children in
school, and to assess and monitor the progress of
children with special needs. They are usually based
in Schools Psychological Services or Child Guidance
Clinics. In some areas the work is largely taken up
with assessing children who are having difficulties
in school and making recommendations about
which kind of educational setting they need. Other
areas have been able to develop much more varied
work ranging from therapy with individual children
and their families, through curriculum development
and teacher training, to consulting with the school
on more effective management structures. Training
courses usually last for two years and award
masters degree, but require the applicant to have
a good psychology degree, training as a teacher,
and two years of teaching experience before
starting the course.
Effort after meaning: A term used by Bartlett to describe
the ways in which individuals attempt to organize

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


their memories, and to make sense of them; if

necessary, altering the content of the specific
information in order to do so.
Ego: One of the three components of the psychic
apparatus in the Freudian structural framework.
The other two components are the id and supergo.
Although the ego has some conscious components, many of its operations are automatic. It
occupies a position between the primal instincts
and the demands of the outer world; therefore, it
mediates between the person and external reality.
In so doing , it performs the important functions of
perceiving the needs of the self, both physical and
psychological, and the qualities and attitudes of
the environment. It evaluates, coordinates, and
integrates those perceptions so that internal
demands can be adjusted to external requirements.
It is also responsible for certain defensive functions
to protect the person against the demands of the
id and the superego. It has a host of functions, but
adaptation to reality is perhaps the most important
one psychiatric usage of the term should not be
confused with common usage which connotes self
love. See also Reality testing.
Ego-alien: Refers to aspects of a persons personality
that he views as repugnant, unacceptable, or
inconsistent with the rest of his personality. It is
also called ego-dystonic. See also Ego-syntonic.
Ego analysis: Intensive psychoanalytic study and
analysis of the ways in which the ego resolves for
attempts to deal with intrapsychic conflicts,
especially in relation to the development of mental
mechanisms and the maturation of capacity for
rational thought and action. Modern psychoanalysis gives more emphasis to considerations
of the defensive operations of the ego than did
earlier techniques, which emphasized instinctual
forces to a greater degree.
Ego boundaries: A concept introduced by Federn that
refers to the ability of the intact ego to differentiate


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

the real boundaries prevent repressed unconscious

material from overwhelming the ego. When that
happen, the person experiences depersonalization
and derealization. Boundaries are said to be
weakened in schizophrenia and dissociative states.
Egocentric: Self-centered; selfishly preoccupied with
one own need; lacking interest in others.
Egocentricity or egocentrism: A central concept in
Piagetian theory, egocentricity refers to the idea
that children take their own perspective as central,
and tend to assume that other people have the
same understandings, motives and needs as the
child. It is not a moralistic concept, and has nothing
in common with selfishness or egotism; but instead
in concerned with the childs perception of
association and causality. The process by which
child gradually comes to differentiate itself from
the external world, through the development of the
body-schema to recognized that objects have
permanent existence; and to be above to decentre
and see things from anothers viewpoint are, for
piaget, significant milestones in the reduction of
egocentricity. When used of adults the term does
have implications of selfishness though perhaps
in should just imply a delayed cognitive development.
Egocentric speech: Speech which is simply involved
in monitoring and directing the childs internal
thought processes and has no communicative
function. According to Piaget, this is a significant
part of the child; acquisition of speech; it forms a
valuable tool of thought, which the child practices
as it performs mental operations on the external
Ego-coping skill: adaptive method or capacity
developed by a person to deal with or overcome a
psychological or social problem.
Ego-defense: See defense mechanism.
Ego-dystonic: Aspects if a persons behaviour, thought,
and attitudes viewed as repugnant or inconsistent

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


with the total personality. Contrast with egosyntonic.

Ego-dystonic homosexuality: A psychosexual disorder
in which a person has unwanted and distressful
homosexual arousal and wishes to acquire or
increase heterosexual arousal. A DSM-III term
replacing sexual orientation disturbance.
Ego ideal: The part of the personality that comprises
the aims and goals for the self; usually refers to
the conscious or unconscious emulation of significant figures with whom one has identified. The
ego ideal emphasizes what one should be or do in
contrast to what one should not be or not do.
Ego instinct: In Freuds formulations prior to 1920, there
were two groups of instinctsthe self preservative
or ego instinct and the reproductive or sexual
Egoism: A tendency to give an excessively high priority
to one own needs and wishes and a correspondingly low priority to those of other people. See
egotism for a comparison.
Ego libido: Libido which is invested in the ego. It is not
always clear whether this refers to the energy
available for ego functions or self-love.
Egology: A term devised by S. Rado to mean study of
the ego, the I.
Egomania: Morbid self-preoccupation or self-centeredness. See also Narcissism.
Ego-model: A person after whom another person
patterns his ego.
Egormorphism: The attributing of one own need,
desires, motives, etc., to someone else.
Egopathy: Hostile behaviour due to psychopathically
exaggerated sense of self-importance.
Ego psychology: The study and elucidation of those
slowly changing functions known as psychic structures which usually shape, channel, and organize
mental activity into meaningful and tolerable


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

patterns of experience. The usual structures referred

to in this sense are memory, speech, locomotion,
cognition, drive, restraint, discharge, and the
capacity to make judgements and decisions.
Ego state: In Eric Bernes structural analysis, a state of
mind and its related set of coherent behaviour
patterns. There are three ego states; parent, adult
and child.
Ego strength: Ability to retain reality and manage the
forces of the bid and supergo.
Ego-syntonic: Aspects of a persons behaviour, thoughts,
and attitudes viewed as acceptable and consistent
with the total personality. Contrast with egodystonic.
Egotism: A constant tendency overvalue oneself and
therefore to undervalue other people. The difference from egoism in that egotists tend not to be
interested exploit them. Egotistical attitudes tend
to be clearly displayed whereas egoism may need
to be concealed to be effective.
Einstellung: A term coined by the Gestalt school of
psychology of refer to the kinds of mental sets
which can influence problem-solving by inducing
a rigidity of thought which precludes the
perceptions of alternative strategies or solutions.
Eidetic image: Unusually vivid and apparently exact
mental image, may be a memory, fantasy, or dream.
Egotization: The process by which a mental process or
function becomes part of the self, structure or
deaggressified and desexualized.
Eitingon, Max (18811943): Austrian psychoanalyst.
An emissary of the Zurich school, he gained fame
as the first person to be analyzed by Freud in a few
sessions in 1907. Later, he became the first chief of
the Berlin Psychoanalytic clinic, a founder of the
Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute, and founder of the
Palestine Psychoanalytic Society.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Ejaculatory incompetence (impotence): Inability to

reach orgasm and ejaculate during sexual intercourse despite adequacy of erection.
Ekboms syndrome (delusion of infestation): Delusion
that body and/or surroundings are infested with
insects, parasites etc. Evidence of this is gathered.
Often paranoid or depressive or sometimes organic
brain disorder may cause it.
Elaborated code: A term used by Bernstein to refer to
the form of language commonly used by middleclass families, characterized by an extensive use of
nouns, explanations, and synonyms. Bernsteins
use of the term code is continuous, as are many
other parts of his theory. This is due mainly to the
theory having been associated with the verbal
deprivation of class difference in language use,
which argue that restricted language use implies
restricted cognitive possibilities. See code of
language, restricted code.
Elaboration: An unconscious process or expansion and
embellishment of detail, especially with reference
to a symbol or representation in a dream.
Elation: An effective state of joyous gaiety which, when
intensified and out of keeping with life circumstances, is a dominant symptom of mania and
hypomania. Synonym: hyperthymia.
Elective mutism: A childhood mental disorder in which
a child who is able and willing to speak to select
persons persistently refuses to speak in other social
or school situations.
Electra complex: The female analogue of the Oedipus
complex in the male, it is an infrequently used term
to describe unresolved developmental conflicts
influencing a womans relationships with men. Term
was given by Jung. Most theories, including Freud,
have rejected the use of the term.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): A treatment, usually
for depression, that involves the application of
electric current to the brain for a fraction of a


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

second through scalp electrodes, including a

convulsive reaction and unconsciousness.
Elopement: In psychiatry, escape; absenting oneself
from a mental hospital without permission.
Elusion: Term used by Laing (1961) to describe the
process by which a person may avoid confrontation with himself and others by impersonating
himself i.e., by playing at the role that he in fact
has. It counterfeits truth by a double pretence, i.e.,
by pretending that phantasy is real and then
pretending that reality is a phantasy.
Emancipated minor: Legal term for a minor who exercise
general control over his or her life and hence has
the legal rights of an adult.
Embodied and unembodied: Terms used by Laing (1960)
to describe two states if being, the embodied state
being possessed by persons with primary ontological security who feel they began when their
bodies began die, the unembodied being that
possessed by persons who lack primary ontological security and have a sense of being detached
from their bodies.
Emergency reaction, or fight-or-fight response: The
pattern of bodily changes accompanying fear and
anger which help the organism deal with threatening situations. Compare relaxation response. See
sympathetic system.
Emic vs. etic: Conceptions derived from the internal
logic of an emic, universal conceptions, cutting
across cultures are etic (Pike, 1954).
Emotion: The experience of subjective feelings which
have positive or negative value for the individual.
Beyond this statement the definition must depend
on the particular theory of emotion being held. Most
current theories regard emotions as a combination
of psychological response with a cognitive evaluation of the situation. The idea that emotions are
the source of actions has become less popular and
in fact the term has only a remote link with any idea

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


of motion, having come into English from the French

word emouvoir, to excite. Some definitions would
reserve the term emotions for fairly intense and
fairly brief experiences. It is certainly useful to
distinguish emotions from states, like hunger,
sexual desire, and frustration) , which may give
rise to emotions, and from behaviours such as
aggression, which may indicate the presence of an
emotion but which are not themselves emotion.
Emotional deprivation: See deprivation, emotional.
Emotional disorder: Lay term for mental illness or mental
disorder, in common usage it does not specifically
imply an affective or schizophrenic disorder.
Emotional insight: See Insight.
Emotional liability: Excessive emotional responsiveness, characterized by stable and rapidly changing
Emotional support: Encouragement, hope, and inspiration given to one person by another.
Empathy: The intellectual and emotional awareness and
understanding of another persons state of mind.
It involves the projection of oneself into another
persons frame of reference. It is important ability
in a successful therapist or a helpful group member.
See also sympathy.
Empiricism: A philosophical school of thought highly
influential in psychology, which argues that only
that which can be directly observed or measured
can be meaningfully studied.
Enactive representation: According to Bruner, the first
mode of representation developed by the young
child. Enactive representation involves the storing
of information in the form of kinaesthetic senzations, such as the way that most adults would recall
the sensation of a fairground waltzer or helkterskelter. In the world of the infant, such muscle
memories would be adequate to cope with most
of the information encountered by the child, as the
child develops and its world widens, further forms


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

of representation are added to its repertoire, such

as iconic representation and symbolic representation.
Encapsulated elusion: See Delusion.
Encephalopathy: Any of the metabolic, toxic, neoplastic,
or degenerative diseases of the brain.
Encoding: The processing of information in such a way
that it can be represented internally, for memory
Encopresis: A disorder, most common in children in
which the main manifestation is the persistent
voluntary or involuntary passage of formed faces
of normal or near-normal consistency, into places
not intended for that purpose, in the individuals
own sociocultural setting. Sometimes the child has
failed to gain bowel control, and sometimes the
child has gained control but becomes encopretic
again later. There may be a variety of associated
psychiatric symptoms, and there may be smearing
of faeces. The condition would not usually be
diagnosed under the age of four years.
Encounter group: A form of sensitivity training that
emphasizes the experiencing of individual relationships within the group and that minimizes intellectual and didactic input. It is a group that focuses
on the present, rather than concerning itself with
the present or outside problems of its members.
J.L. Moreno introduced and developed the idea of
the encounter group in 1914. See also Body contact
exploration maneuver Sensitivity training group.
Endogenous: A term introduced into psychiatry by
Mobius in 1893 for the purposes of etiological,
clinical classification to designate those mental
disorders caused primarily by hereditary and
constitutional factors, originating within the soma
or the central nervous system. The precise meanings of endogeny and exogeny are, however, too
arbitrary to justify more than a provisional distinction. For example, a brain tumour although arising

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


within the central nervous system would give rise

to an exogenous mental disorder, while a psychogenic psychosis would be an endogenous mental
disorder, while a psychogenic psychosis would
be an endogenous disorder (Jaspers, 1946). The
distinction, therefore, is of mainly historical
Endomorphic: Obsese, one of Sheldons constitutional
types. See also Ectomorphic, Mesomorphic.
Endorphin: A naturally produced chemical with
morphine-like action; usually found in the brain
and associated with the relief of pain. May be the
bodys own protection against pain. The highest
concentration is in the pituitary gland.
Engineering psychology: The application of psychology to man-machine interact ion. It includes the
selection and training of people to operate machines,
and advice on the design of machines so that they
can be efficiently used by human operators.
Engram: A memory trace a neurophysiologic process
that accounts for persistence of memory.
Engulfment: Term used by Laing (1960) to describe a
form of anxiety suffered by persons who lack
primary ontological security in which relationships
with others are experiences as overwhelming
threats to their identity.
Enkephalins: One of the major families of endogenous
opioids, the other being the endorphins. The
enkephalins are pentapeptides; their two natural
forms (met- and leu) differ from each other only in
terminal aminoacid; see endorphins.
Enlightenment effects: The effects of a given psychological theory on those who came to understand
its premises and predictions. The most celebrated
form of enlightenment effect is the self fulfilling
prophecy initially described by Morton.
Enuresis: A disorder, most common in children, in
which the main manifestation is a persistent
involuntary voiding of urine by day or night which


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

is considered abnormal for the age of the individual.

Sometimes the child will have failed to gain bladder
control and in other cases he or she will have
gained control and then lost it. Episodic or
fluctuating enuresis should be included. The
disorder would not usually be diagnosed under
the age of four years.
Environment: The total external context in which an
individual operates. The concept of environment
is usually used to include physical surroundings
and their characteristics and social contexts and
interactions, but it may be used more specifically
in include all the different dacets of the physical
but to exclude the social. See ecology.
Environmental determinism: The view that behaviour,
personality, or psychological characteristics
originate as a direct consequence of individual
learning and environment influences, and are not
significantly influenced by innate factors.
Environmental psychology: The study of the ways that
the environment influences and channels
individual behaviour. Environmental psychology
includes the study of such factors as territoriality
and personal space, ergonomic design, and the
physical attributes of surroundings.
Environmentalism: The doctrine that all significant
determinants of behaviour are to be found in the
environment. Strict behaviourism is one version
of environmentalism. See heredity-environment
EPI: The Eysenck Personality inventory; a questionnaire designed to assess people on the two
character traits of extroversion and neuroticism.
These were proposed as the two main underlying
individual differences in personality; each representing several second-order traits.
Epidemiology: In psychiatry, the study of the incidence,
prevalence, control, and distribution of mental
disorders within a particular population.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Epigenesis: A term introduced by Erikson to refer to

the stages of ego and social development.
Epilepsy: A neurological disorder resulting from a
sudden, excessive, disorderly discharge of neurons
in either a structurally normal or a diseased cerebral
cortex. It is characterized by the paroxysmal
recurrence of short-lived disturbances of consciousness, involuntary convulsive muscle movements, psychic or sensory disturbances, or some
combination thereof. It is termed idiopathic epilepsy
when there is no identifiable organic cause.
Epileptic dementia: A form of epilepsy that is accompanied by progressive mental and intellectual
impairment. Some believe that the circulatory
disturbances during epileptic attacks cause nerve
cell degeneration and lead to dementia.
Epileptic psychosis, acute: A term describing the acute
psychotic manifestations, usually lasting from
several days to a few weeks, that are liable to occur
in an epileptic independently of seizures and of
ictal or postictal confusional state. These manifestations, which usually take the form of an acute
paranoid reaction, are encountered mostly in people
with seizures of temporal-lobe origin, usually during
spontaneous periods of remission or remissions
produced by anticonvulsive treatment. They are
often accompanied by the disappearance of
interictal electro encephalogram (EEG) discharges
(forced normalization). The fact that such
manifestations are not necessarily related to
seizures, occur in only some epileptics, indicates
that the strict relation suggested by the term acute
epileptic psychosis cannot be demonstrated.
Preference should therefore, be given to the
expression acute psychotic episode in an epileptic
or acute psychosis in an epileptic.
Epileptic psychosis, chronic: Chronic hallucinatory
paranoid psychosis occurring in subjects with
epilepsy, particularly temporal-lobe epilepsy. It is
characterized by religious or mystical delusions


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

and tends to occur in subjects whose seizures are

tapering off, whether spontaneously or in response
to treatment. Chronic epileptic psychosis is rare
and it is difficult to distinguish from the functional
paranoid psychoses, although in the epileptic
variety affect and social integration are sometimes
well-preserved. The relationship between epilepsy
and chronic psychosis is neither simple nor clear.
On the one hand, the psychotic phenomena are
directly related to epilepsy of the temporal lobe,
probably of the dominant hemisphere, occur in
inverse proportion to the presence and frequency
of temporal lobe seizures; and are independent of
the presence of associated brain lesions. This is
all evidence in favour of the epileptic nature of the
psychotic manifestations. On the other hand, it
would be more appropriate to use the expression
chronic psychosis in an epileptic individual since
numerous factorsorganic, psychological (the
reliving of previous experience during some
seizures), sociological (rejection by society, low
status of the epileptic) and pharmacological (longterm anti-convulsant therapy, which disturbs folic
acid metabolism) may play a part in the cauzation
of the psychoses observed in epileptics.
Epileptic twilight state: A transient psychic change
occurring during or after an epileptic seizure,
usually one of temporal lobe origin, and characterized by reduced alertness with narrowing of the
field of consciousness resulting in a hazy and
blurred perception of the surroundings. Such
states may be classed as intermediate between
confusional states, in which dissolution of consciousness is more complete, and dreamy states,
in which fantasy is prevalent.
Epinephrine: One of the catecholamines secreted by
the adrenal gland and by fibres of the sympathetic
nervous system. It is responsible for many of the
physical manifestations of fear and anxiety. Also
known as adrenaline.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Episodic: Term used to describe an illness in which

there are sustained disturbances clearly distinguished from previous functioning.
Episodic memory: A long-term memory store containing
memories of the specific things that have happened
to a person (reminiscences). Compare semantic
Epistemology: The theory of knowledge; the study of
the method and grounds of knowledge.
Epistemophilia: Pleasure in gaining knowledge. There
is a tendency to regard the thirst for knowledge as
either a derivative of scopophilia, i.e., as an
extension of sexual curiosity or as a sublimation of
oral drives.
Equality rule: A rule employed as a standard in making
judgements of fairness in social relationships;
requires that outcomes be do tributed equally
among participants in a relationship.
Equilibration: In Piagetian theory, the process by which
schemata are developed to take account of new
information. If new information which is encountered fails to fit into an existing schema, the
individual is thrown into a state of cognitive discomfort known as disequilibrium. Though the two
process of assimilation and accommodation, the
schemata are adapted or adjusted such that the
new information can be handled and the cognitive
balance is restored. This is the process of equilibration.
Equity theory: A theory of social behaviour which
suggests that individuals attempt to establish
perceived equality of the outcome/input ratios in
Erbens test: It is based on the physiological principle
that during fine movement agonists and contracting antagonists act in synergy so that movements
can be executed with precision during gross
movement; agonists along contract and antagonist
relaxed in a patient with organic illness. Tremors


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

may also be associated. In testing the muscle

power in a patient with functional hemiparesis,
antagonists muscles contract when patient is told
to move part and there are no tremors.
Eremophobia: Fear of being by oneself.
Ergasia: Adolf Meyers term for a persons total activity,
as opposed to the functioning of part of the whole.
Erikson, Erik (1902-): German born, Psychoanalyst
and child analyst noted for his theory of ego
development and psychosexual development
which he conceptualized in terms of social adaptation as it relates to Freuds formulations. See also
Epigenesis, Psychosocial development. Author of
major studies of Luther and Gandhi.
Erogenous zone: An area of the body particularly
susceptible to erotic arousal when stimulated,
especially the oral, anal, and genital areas. Sometimes called erotogenic zone. Eros: See life instinct,
sexual drive.
Erotic: Consciously or unconsciously invested with
sexual feeling; sensually related.
Erotolalia: Sexual obscene speech, especially in
reference to the use of such speech during sexual
intercourse as a means of enhancing gratification.
Erotomania: Pathological preoccupation with sexual
activities or fantasies.
Erythrophobia: Fear of blushing.
ESB: The usual abbreviation for a form of direct
electrical stimulation of the brain which appears to
function as a powerful reinforcer of behaviour and
to give highly pleasurable sensations. Experiments
conducted in the 1960s seemed to imply that there
was a direct pleasure centre in a particular region
of the hypothalamus. For instance, stimulation of
this area in rats, given as a reward for levelpressing, produced an extremely high response
rate; and in terminally-ill cancer patients produced
reports of feeling wonderful or happy (Campbell).
It was though that this might be the root of all

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


motivational states. However, the pleasure centre

concept presents some difficulties; for instance,
unlike other forms of learning, it extinguishes very
quickly, so the status of ESB is now rather unclear.
ESP: See Extrasensory perception.
Essentialism: The opposite of existentialism. Freudian
psychoanalysis is an essentialist theory since it
explains phenomena in terms of essences i.e., in
terms of forces underlying the phenomena.
EST: Electroshock therapy. See also Electroconvulsive
therapy (ECT).
Ethnocentrism: Conviction that ones own group is
superior to other groups. It impairs ones ability to
evaluate members of another group realistically or
to communicate with them on an open, equal, and
person-to-person basis.
Esteem needs: One level of the hierarchical model of
human needs proposed by Maslow. Esteem needs
include the need for achievement and social recognition and are considered to achieve importance
once physiological, safety, and social needs have
been met. See also self-esteem.
Ethical: To do with rights and wrongs. Owing to the
scope of psychological interests and the potential
for psychological damage, ethical issues have
become of great importance in modern psychology. They include such aspects of psychological
practice as the use of deception in experimental
work; the investigation of characteristics which
are potentially threatening to the self-concept (of
Milgrams work on obedience); the use of animals
in research; and questions of confidentiality in
professional practice. Professional psychological
associations usually have specially committees
which evaluate and provide guidance on ethical
Ethnography: A method of unstructured observational
research developed by anthropologists for
studying the workings of human cultures from


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

within. It involves the researchers participation

(participant observation) in the everyday lives of
the group under study.
Ethnology: A science that concerns itself with the
division of mankind into races and their origin,
distribution, relations and characteristics.
Ethnomethodology: The study of the everyday methods
of practical reasoning used in the production and
interpretation of social action.
Ethogenics: A theory and associated methodology for
the analysis and explanation of social interaction.
Ethologism: The appeal of concepts and findings
derived from ethological studies of the behaviour
of non-human animals as a source of immediate
diagnosis of the dilemmas of the human condition
and of prescriptions for change. Term was coined
by Callan (1970).
Ethology: The study of behaviour in the natural environment. Ethological studies of animal behaviour have
been conducted throughout the 20th century, and
were systematized by the work of Konrad Lorenz
and Niko Tinbergen. More recently, the ethological
approach has been applied to the study of human
behaviour, most notably in the fields of motherinfant interaction and non-verbal communication.
Etiology: The study of the causes of disease.
Euergasia: Word used by Adolf Meyer to mean normal
mental functioning.
Eugenics: A set of political beliefs based on the idea
that intelligence and personality are fixed inherited
characteristics determining role and position in
society. Eugenicists believe that breedings should
be restricted among those of the lower classes of
society, and that those of subnormal intellect or
undesirable personality should be sterilized to
prevent the spread of such genetic characteristics.
Eunuch: Male whose testes have been removed before

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Euphoria: An exaggerated feeling of well being that is

inappropriate to apparent events. It may be induced
by drugs such as opiates, amphetamines, and
Euphorohallucinogen: A substance capable of producing euphoric hallucinations. See also hallucinogenic drug.
Euthymic: Normal mood.
Evasion: Act of not facing up to or of strategically
eluding something. It consists of suppressing an
idea that is next in a thought series and replacing it
with another idea closely related to it. Evasion is
also known as paralogia and perverted logic.
Event-related potential: Electrical activity produced by
the brain in response to a sensory stimulus or
associated with the execution of a motor, cognitive,
or psychophysiologic task. See also evoked potential and electroencephalogram.
Evoked potential: Electrical activity produced by the
brain in response to a sensory stimulus; a more
specific term than event-related potential. See also
Exaltation: Feeling of intense elation and grandeur.
Executive ego function: A psychoanalytic term for the
egos management of the mental mechanisms in
order to meet the needs of the organisms. See also
Exhibitionism: A paraphilia in which a man exposes his
genitals to females in a socially inappropriate
fashion. The condition rarely occurs in women.
Existentialism: Philosophical theory which gives priority to phenomenology and ontology over cauzation, which rejects explanations in terms of essences
imagined to actuate behaviour from within in favour
of study of the phenomena themselves.
Existential psychiatry (existentialism): A school of
psychiatry evolved from orthodox psychoanalytic
thought; stresses the way in which a person


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

experiences the phenomenologic world and takes

responsibility for existence. Philosophically, it is
holistic and self-deterministic in contrast to
biologic or culturally deterministic points of view.
Existential psychotherapy: A type of therapy that puts
the emphasis on here-and-now interaction and on
feeling experiences, rather than on rational thinking.
Little attention is given to patient resistances, and
the therapist is involved on the same level and to
the same degree as the patient. It is based on
existential philosophy which holds that a person
has the responsibility for his own exis- tence. See
also Phenomenology.
Exorcism: A magical practice in which mystical
incantations are invoked to remove demons that
are alleged to have entered the mind.
Experiencing: Feeling emotions and sensations, as
opposed to thinking; being involved in what is
happening, rather than standing back at a distance
and theorizing.
Experiment: A form of empirical investigation or study
in which variables are manipulated in order to
discover cause and effect. An experiment will
involve at least one independent variable, which
will be set up in such a way as to produce changes
in a dependent variable.
Experimental design: The logical framework of an
experiment which maximizes the probability of
obtaining or detecting real effects and minimizes
the likelihood of ambiguities regarding the
significance of the experimentally observed differences.
Experimental group: A group whose main purpose is
concerned with sharing whatever happens in
spontaneous fashion.
Experimental neurosis: Laboratory studies can induce
apparently neurotic behaviour in animals by
training them to perform a task and then gradually
making it impossible. First studied by Pavlov and
presented as a basis for controlled study of

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


neurosis in humans. Subsequently doubts were

raised about whether the mental states of the
animals were really similar to those of neurotic
humans and the research was abandoned. A similar
process occurred more recently with the study of
learned helplessness.
Experimental philosophy: That branch of philosophy
which, during the 18th and 19th centuries, became
increasingly concerned with the study of the human
mind, and which drew on empirical observations
for its conclusions. Experimental philosophy
became transmuted into psychology towards the
end of the 19th century; the founding fathers of
psychology, Wilhelm Wundt, Herman Ebbinghaus
and William James were simultaneously the last of
the experimental philosophers.
Experimental psychology: Those branches of psychology which are firmly based in laboratory experimentation. The term is used to cover such areas as
learning memory and perception. It has now been
largely replaced by the wider area of cognitive
Experimenter bias: Experimenter expectations that are
inadvertently communicated to patients or subjects.
Such expectations may influence experimental
Experimenter effects: Experimental problems producing
a biased result brought about by the influence of
the experimenter, for example, through subjects
responding to the person who conducts the experiment. Experimenter effects may occur indirectly,
because of the personal characteristics of the
experimenter (e.g., their age, sex or other such
feature) or directly, as a result of the beliefs or
unconscious bias being transmitted to the subjects,
and producing a self-fulfilling prophecy. The latter
is usually controlled by using the double blind
Expert witness: A status conferred on a witness based
on appropriate qualifications, training and


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

experience which acknowledges that competence

and authority of the witness in a particular area of
expertise. Expert witnesses are permitted to offer
opinions in court related to their area of expertise
which would not be permitted a witness without
such status.
Explosive disorder, intermittent: A disorder of impulse
control in which the person recurrently strikes out
in an extremely angry and hostile fashion; the
outbursts generally contrast sharply with the
persons normal behaviour. See also Explosive
disorder, isolated.
Explosive disorder, isolated: A disorder of impulse
control in which the person has a single episode
characterized by failure to resist a violent impulse
against others. See also Explosive disorder,
Explosive dysphasia: See Dysphasia.
Extended family therapy: A type of family therapy that
involves family members, beyond the nuclear
family, who are closely associated with it and
affect it.
External validity: The applicability of the generalizations that may be made from the experimental
findings beyond the occasion with those specific
subjects, experimental conditions, experimenters,
or measurements.
Extinction: The weakening of a reinforced operant
response as a result of ceasing reinforcement. See
also operant conditioning. Also, the elimination of
a conditioned stimulus without the conditioned
stimulus. See also respondent conditioning.
Extra psychic conflict: Conflict that arises between the
person and his environment. See also intrapsychic
Extrapyramidal syndrome: A variety of signs and
symptoms, including muscular rigidity, tremors,
drooling, shuffling gait (parkinsonism); restlessness (akathisia); peculiar involuntary postures
(dystonia); motor inertia (akinesia) and may other

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


neurologic disturbances. Results from dysfunction

of the extrapyramidal system. May occur as a
reversible side effect of certain psychotrophic
drugs, particularly phenothiazines. See also tardive
Extrasensory perception (ESP): Experiencing of an
external event by means other than the five senses.
Telepathyperception of another persons thoughtsand clairvoyanceperception of outside
eventsare two kinds of extrasensory perception.
See also Parapsychology.
Extroversion: The state of ones energies being directed outside oneself. It is also spelled extraversion.
See also Introversion.
Eyebrow flash: A recognition signal which consists of
rapidly raising the eyebrows as a greeting to an
individual who is recognized. The eyebrow flash
seems to be common to all human cultures, and to
some other species. It therefore is considered to
be innate.
Eye contact: Mutual gaze, or the amount of time which
two people spend looking at each other simultaneously. Eye contact is sometimes taken as an
indicator of intimacy; eye-contact with unknown
individuals tends to be avoided. It is powerful
signal in all primates, including human beings;
prolonged eye contact with neutral or hostile facial
expression is taken as a threat gesture, and tends
to be responded to by either aggressive or avoidance behaviour.
Eysenck, Hans Jurgen: Born in Germany in 1916. He is
a major personality theorist. His main contributions
were three factors theory of personality (Extroversion/introversion, neuroticism, psychoticism),
EPI (Eysenck Personality Inventory) MMQ
(Maudsley Medical Questionnaire), MPI
(Maudsley Personality Inventory).


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Fabulation: A term used by Adolf Meyer to mean
fabrication. See also Confubulation.
Face validity: The appearance of validity a test that
seems right ; face validity is not necessarily true
Facial affect programme: A strategy of including
behavioural change through making the individual
aware of the sensations arising from facial expressions which are different from those that he/she
uses habitually. It is thought that encouraging the
continued use of positive facial expressions, as
opposed to those normally used, will provide
positive feedback both through social interaction
and through muscular interpretation. See facial
feedback hypothesis.
Facial electromyography: A technique for measuring
the degree of tension in facial muscles by recording
the electrical discharge of the muscles. By mapping
the muscle tensions occurring in different expressions a systematic and objective measure of facial
expression can be obtained.
Facial expression: Characteristics patterns of arrangements of the muscles in the face, which provide
important non-verbal clues in social interaction.
Facial expression may be used either to express
understanding, attitudes, emotions, or as specific
cultural signals with clearly defined meanings.
Some researchers have found that basic emotional

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


expressions seem to be common to all human

cultures, and are also found in blind babies, which
would seem to imply that they are innate. However,
other facial expressions show cultural variability,
and seem to be acquired through social interaction.
Facial feedback hypothesis: The idea that our experience of emotion arises at least in part from our
interpretations of the arrangement of our facial
muscles. So mood changes may be affected by the
altering of the facial expression, which will provide
feedback leading to a change in the emotion that
the person experience. The effect is used in studies
of mood when subjects are asked to make, say, a
depressed face as a part of a procedure for changing their mood.
Factitious disorder: A mental disorder characterized
by the voluntary production of unreal physical or
psychological symptoms. Unlike malingering, there
is no apparent goal or obvious benefit in factitious
disorder. See also Malingering, Munchausen
syndrome, Somatoform disorder.
Factor analysis: A statistical technique that examines
population clusters to extract patterns of commonality.
Failure to thrive, FTT: A condition of poor growth in
infants, usually defined as being below the third
centile ( i.e., in the bottom 3% for the stage, sex,
and population). In some cases there is a psychological problem which accounts for the poor growth
but in the majority of cases there is no organic
cause and the condition is called non-organic
failure to thrive. FTT was once believed to be a
direct result of emotional deprivation and in its
extreme form was called deprivational dwarfism.
It is now widely recognized that the basic problem
is that the child does not receive enough food to
sustain appropriate growth, though this in turn in
likely to result from emotional or other difficulties
of the parent, the child, or both.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Falling out: Seen among black Americans, but also

called blacking out by Bahamians and
indisposition by Haitians in Maimi. The patient
simply collapse but without biting the tongue or
incontinuance of urine or faeces. This is accompanied by lack of ability to speak or move, even
though the individual hears and understands.
Falsifiable hypothesis: A hypothesis stated in
sufficiently precise fashion that it can be tested by
acceptable rules of logic, empirical and statistical
evidence, and thereby found to be either confirmed
or disconfirmed. As unfalsifiable hypothesis is one
that is so general and/or ambiguous that all
conceivable evidence can be explained by it.
Family neurosis: Mental disorder persons psychopathology is unconsciously interrelated with that
of the other members of his family.
Family romance: It is the childhood phantasy that ones
apparent parents are not ones real ones and that
one is really of noble or royal birth.
Family therapy: An approach to psychological treatment in which the whole family is the focus, rather
than an individual patient. Earlier approaches were
derived from psychoanalysis and treated the family
as if it had psychological processes similar to those
of individuals. Recently, methods have been
developed from systems theory, which recognize
that, while the behaviour of a competent may seem
strange when it is in isolation, it will make much
more sense in the context of the complete system.
Applied to individuals, and recognizing that
families are one of the most significant systems
within which most people function, this approach
has led to a new way of looking at psychological
disturbance. It assumes that in many cases the
symptoms shown by an individual are a meaningful response to their circumstances. More specifically, disturbed behaviour likely to be an attempt
to regulate relationships, or solve problems, within
the family. The literature contains many examples

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


of spectacular success using systemic family

therapy but there has been little systematic
evaluation of the techniques.
Fantasy: Daydream: fabricated mental picture of a
situation or chain of events. A form of thinking
dominated by unconscious material and primary
processes, it seeks wish fulfillment and immediate
solutions to conflicts. Fantasy may serve as the
matrix for creativity or for neurotic distortions of
Fantasy and phantasy: In modern use fantasy and
phantasy, inspite of their identity in sound and in
ultimate etymology, tend to be apprehended as
separate words, the predominant sense of the
former being caprice, whim, fanciful invention,
and that of the latter is imagination, visionary
Father surrogate: Father substitute. In psychoanalysis,
the patient projects his father image onto another
person and responds to the person unconsciously
in an inappropriate and unrealistic manner, with
the feeling and attitudes that he had towards his
real father.
Fatigue effect: An experimental effect about brought
by the subjects being tired, bored, or otherwise
affected by the duration of the experimental
procedure. It can contaminate experimental results
because it may appear that subjects are less good
at later tasks when in fact they are just getting
tired. See counterbalancing, order effects.
Fausse reconnaissance: False recognition. See also
Faute de mieux: Literally, for want of anything better,
connoting in psychiatry a persons choosing a
homosexual relationship when no partner of the
opposite is available.
Fear: A primitive, intense emotion in the face of threat,
real or imagined, which is accompanied by physiological reactions resulting from arousal of the


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

sympathetic nervous system and by defensive

pattern of behaviour associated with avoidance,
fight or concealment.
Fear, guilty: Rados term for the fear that dire consequences are in store for one because of a misdeed
(or forbidden impulse). Guilty fear is thus a derivative of the dread of conscience. It is a prominent
feature of the obsessive syndrome where it opposes
the patients defiant range and leads, ultimately, to
repression of the latter. See attack, obsessive.
Fear, impulse: A fear that arises within the individual,
more or less directly from an instinctual sources. It
is contrasted with real object in the environment.
The fear of being in a dark place is a real or reality
fear. The fear of imminent collapse and death, while
in excellent health, is an impulse fear.
Fear of:
Air: Aerophobia
Animals: Zoophobia
Anything new: Kaino (to) phobia; neophobia
Bacilli: Bacillophobia
Bad men: Pavor sceleris; scelerophobia
Barren space: Cenophobia; kenophobia
Bearing a monster: Teratophobia
Bees: Apiphobia; melissophobia
Being alone: Autophobia; eremiophobia; monophobia
Being beaten: Mastigophobia
Being buried alive: Taphephobia
Being enclosed: Clithrophobia
Being laughed at: Catagelophobia
Being locked in: Claustrophobia; clitrophobia
Being looked at: Scopophobia
Being touched: (h) Aphephobia; haptephobia
Birds: Ornithophobia
Blood: Hematophobia; homophobia
Blushing: Ereuthophobia; erythrophobia

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Brain disease: Meningitophobia

Burglars: Seelerophobia
Cats: Ailurophobia; geleophobia; neophobia
Change: Kainophobia; Kainitophobia; neophobia
Childbirth: Maieusiophobia
Choking: Anginophobia; pnigophobia
Cold: Cherimaphobia; psychropophobia
Comets: Cometophobia
Confinement: Caustrophobia
Contamination: Coprophobia; molysmophobia;
mysophobia; scatophobia
Corpses: Necrophobia
(Crossing a) bridge or river: Gephyrophobia
(Crossing a) street: Dromophobia
Crowds: Demophobia; Ochlophobia
Cumbersome Pseudoscientific terms: Hellenologophobia
Dampness: Hygrophobia
Darkness: Achluphobia; nyctophobia; scotophobia
Dawn: Eosophobia
Daylight: Phengophobia
Death: Necrophobia; thanatophobia
Definite disease: Monopathophobia
Deformity: Dysmorphophobia
Demons: Demonia; demonomania; entheomania
Depths: Bathophobia
Devils: Demonophobia; stanophobia
Dirt: Mysophobia; rhypophobia; rupophobia
Disease: Nosophobia; pathophobia
Dogs: Cynophobia
Dolls: Pediophobia
Dust: Amathophobia
Eating: Cibophobia; phagophobia; sitophobia
Electricity: Electrophobia


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Emptiness: Kenophobia
Everything: Pamphobia (obs); panphobia;
panophobia; pantophobia
Examination: Examination phobia
Excrement: Coprophobia; scatophobia
Eyes: Ommatophobia
Failure: Kakarrthaphobia
Fatigue: Kopophobia
Fearing: Phobophobia
Feathers: Pteronophobia
Female genitals: Eurotophobia
Fever: Fibriphobia; pyrexiophobia
Filth: Mysohobia; rhypophobia; rupophobia
Filth (personal): Automysophobia
Fire: Pyrophobia
Fish: Ichthyphobia
Flash of lightning: Selaphobia
Flogging: Mastigophobia
Floods: Antlophobia
Flutes: Aulophobia
Flying: Aviophobia
Fog: Homichlophobia
Food: Cibophobia; phagophobia; sit (i) ophobia
Forests: Hylophobia
Frogs: Batrachophobia
Functioning: Ergasiophobia
Ghosts: Phasmophobia
Girls: Parthenophobia
Glass: Crystallophobia; hyelophobia
God: Theophobia
Gravity: Barophobia
Hair: Trichopathophobia; trichophobia
Heat: Thermophobia
Heaven: Siderophobia; uranophobia

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Heights: Acrophobia; hyposophobia

Hell: Hadephobia; sygiophobia
Heredity: Patroiophobia
High objects: Batophobia
Horses: Equinophobia
Houses: Domatophobia; oikophobia
Humiliation: Catagelophobia
Ideas: Ideophobia
Impending death: Meditatio mortis; thanatophobia
Infinity: Apeirophobia
Injury: Traumatophobia
Innovation: Neophobia
Insanity: Lyssophobia; maniaphobia
Insects: Acarophobia; entomophobia
Jealousy: Zelophobia
Justice: Dikephobia
Knives: Aichmophobia
Large objects: Megalophobia
Left: Levophobia; sinistrophobia
Light: Photophobia
Lightning: Astraphobia; astrapophobia; keraunophobia
Loneliness: Erem (i) Ophobia; monophobia
Machinery: Mechanophobia
Many things: Polyphobia
Any things: Gamophobia
Materialism: Hylephobia
Medicine (s): Pharmacophobia
Men: Androphobia
Metals: Metallophobia
Meteors: Meteorophobia
Mice: Musophobia
Mind: Psychophobia
Mirrors: Eisoptrophobia; spectrophobia


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Missiles: Ballistophobia
Moisture: Hygophobia
Money: Chrematophobia
Motion: Kinesophobia
Myths: Mythophobia
Naked body: Gymnophobia
Naming, being named: Onomatophobia
Needles: Belonephobia
Neglecting duty: Paralipophobia
Negro(es): Negrophobia
Night: Noctiphobia; nyctophobia
Northern lights: Auroraphobia
Novelty: Kainophobia; kainotophaobia; neophobia
Odor: (personal): Bromidrosiphobia
Odor(s): Olfactophobia; osmophobia; osphresiophobia
Open space(s): Agoraphobia; agyiophobia
Pain: Algophobia; odynophobia
Parasites: Parasitophobia; phobanthropy
Places: Topophobia
Pleasure: Hedonophobia
Points: Aichmophobia
Poison: Iophobia; toxi(co) phobia
Poverty: Peniaphobia
Precipices: Cremnophobia
Public places: Agoraphobia
Punishment: Poinephobia
Rabies: Cynophobia
Railroads or trains: Siderodromophobia
Rain, rainstorms: Ombrophobia
Rectal excreta: Coprophobia
Rectum: Proctophobia
Red: Erythrophobia
Responsibility: Hypengyophobia

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Ridicule: Catagelophobia
Right: Dextrophobia
Rivers: Potamophobia
Robbers: Harpaxophobia
(The) Road: Rhabdophobia
Ruin: Atephobia
Scared things: Hierophobia
Scabies: Scabiophobia
(Receiving a) Scratch: Amychophobia
(The) Sea: Nautophobia; thalassophobia
Self: Autophobia
Seman: Spermatophobia
Sex: Genophobia
Sexual intercourse: Coitophobia cypri (do) phobia
Shock: Hormephobia
Ships: Nautophobia
Sin: Hamartophobia
Sining: Enosiphobia; peccatiphobia; scrupulosity
Sitting: Thassophobia
Sitting down: Kathisophobia
Skin lesion: Dermatophobia
Skin (of animals): Doraphobia
Sleep: Hypnophobia
Small objects or animals: Microbiophobia; microphobia
Smothering: Pnigerophobia
Snakes: Ophidiophobia
Snow: Chinophobia
Solitude: Erem (i) Ophobia; monophobia
Sounds: Acousticophobia; phonophobia sourness; Acerophobia
Speaking: Lal (i) Ophobia
Speaking aloud: Phonophobia
Spiders: Arachneophobia


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Stairs: Climacophobia
Standing up: Stasiphobia
Standing up and walking: Stasibasiphobia
Stars: Siderophobia
Stealing: Kleptophobia
Stillness: Eremiophobia
Stories: Mythophobia
Strangers: Xenophobia
Streets: Agoraphobia; agyiophobia
String: Linonophobia
Success: Polycratism
Sunlight: Heliophobia
Talking: Lal(i) Ophobia
Tapeworms: Taeniophobia
Taste: Geumaphobia
Teeth: Odontophobia
Thinking: Phronemophobia
Thirteen: Triskaideakaphobia
Thunder: Astra(po) phobia; brontophobia; tonitrophobia
Time: Chronophobia
Travel: Hodophobia
Trembling: Tremophobia
Trichinosis: Trichinophobia
Tuberculosis: Phthisiophobia
Vaccination: Vaccinophobia
Vehicles: Amaxophobia
Veneral disease: Cypridoophobia; cypriphobia
Voids: Kenophobia
Vomiting: Emerophobia
Walking: Basiphobia
Water: Hydrophobia; nautophobia
Weakness: Asthenophobia

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Wind: Anemophobia
Women: Gynophobia; horror feminae
Work: Ponophobia
Writing: Graphophobia
Febriphobia: Pyrexeophobia; fear of fever Fechner,
Gustav Theodor (fekner) (180187) German
physicist. Psychologist, philosopher.
Fechners Law: A principle in psychophysics, which
states that the sensation experienced by an
individual increases as a logarithmic function of
the stimulus intensity. In other words, that the
physical increase in stimulation required for a
perceived increase in intensity is not constant, but
systematically greater for higher intensities. For
example switching a light on may be perceived as a
substantial increase in brightness when the room
was previously dark, but may be hardly noticeable
during bright sunlight. See also Webers Law,
relative threshold, absolute threshold.
Federn, Paul: (18711950), Austrian psychoanalyst,
one of Freuds earliest followers, and the last
survivor of the original Wednesday Evening
Society. He made important original contributions
to psychoanalysis, such as the concepts of flying
dreams and ego feelings and he was instrumental
in saving the minutes of the Vienna Psychoanalytic
Society for subsequent publication.
Feeble mindedness: Obsolete term for mental retardation.
Feedback: In a given system, the return, as input, of
some form of information regarding the output; it
is used as a regulatory mechanism. In psychiatry,
it often refers to the verbally or otherwise expressed
response to a persons behaviour by another
person or a group.
Fellatio: Use of the mouth or tongue to stimulate the
male genitalia.
Feminine identity: Inner sense of gender affiliation with


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

females, see also Gender identity. Masculine

Feminism in boys: Adoption by preadolescent boys of
appearance, clothes and behaviour typical of the
female sex. Early effeminate behaviour in boys can
be precursor or predictor of adult homosexuality.
Ferenczi, Sandor: (18731933) Hungarian psychoanalyst, one of Freuds early followers, and a
brilliant contributor to all aspects of psychoanalysis. His temperament was more romantic than
Freuds, and he came to favour more active and
personal techniques, to the point that his
adherence to psychoanalysis during his last years
was questioned.
Fetishism: A paraphilia in which sexual excitement and
gratification are achieved by substituting an
inanimate object such as shoe, piece of underwear,
or other article of clothing for a human love object.
Field dependence/independence: As aspect of cognitive style concerned with whether a person is
dominated by context when making judgements
(field dependence) or whether they can ignore
distracting contextual information (field independence). It may be tested by the accuracy with which
a subject can judge the orientation of a line when it
is surrounded by a frame at a different angle, or
when the subject is in a chair which can be tilted
away from the vertical. Large individual differences
have been found, which seem to relate to other
areas of cognitive functioning.
Field theory: Conceptual approach to the study of
personality formulated by Kurt Lewin. The person
and his environment together constitute the life
space, a complex field of forces acting on the
personality and determining behaviour. The
fundamental focus of the theory is on an operational
analysis of the causal determinants of human
behaviour. Lewin expressed his concepts in
geometric and mathematical terms borrowed from
physics in an attempt to provide a framework

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


suitable to the scientific study of human behaviour.

Field theory has been applied by various individual
and group psychotherapists and has received
particular attention in areas of social psychology
and group process.
Fight or fight response: See alarm reaction.
Figure-ground organization: The tendency, which is
built into our visual perception, to organize
incoming information ( which arrives in the form of
light waves of varying intensities and wavelengths)
into meaningful units, or figures, set against a
background. Figure-ground organization was
intensively studied by the Gestalt psychologists,
who identified several principles of perceptual
organization which served to make up figureground discrimination. These were collectively
known as the Laws of Pragnanz, and included the
principle of closure, and the principle of good
Figure-ground perception: This is a general term used
to refer to those aspects of perception which derive
from figure-ground organizations. So, for instance,
it would include areas such as pattern perception,
which is dependant upon the organization of visual
information into figures against background.
Filter models: Theoretical models put forward to
suggest plausible mechanisms by which cognitive
processes may take place. The best known filter
models were put forward to explain the process of
selective attention, by psychologists such as
Broadbent, Triesman, and Deutsch. Each of these
represented a more or less complex attempt to
explain the way in which incoming information is
channeled such that only a selected part of it is
received, rather than the overwhelming whole.
First mental-health revolution: The trend toward
human treatment for mental patents, beginning in
the late eighteenth century.
Fixation: The arrest of psychosexual development at


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

any stage before complete maturation; a close and

paralyzing attachment to another person, such as
ones mother or father. See also Anal phase, Oral
phase, Phallic phase, Regression.
Fixed action pattern: Complex sequences of behaviour
that are genetically pre-programmed so that all
members of the species show the behaviour when
it is needed. Neither learning nor practices are
needed for the behaviour to be performed perfectly.
Fixed action patterns have been intensively studied
by ethologists, and involve sequences of behaviour which have been inherited as a complete unit.
Fixed-interval reinforcement: A reinforcement schedule in which reinforcements, or rewards, are given
only after a set period of time since the last
reinforcement became available. After a suitable
acquisition period, this method of administering
reinforcement tends to produce a high level of
responding around the time of the reinforcement,
and a low rate of responding at other times. It has
low resistance to extinction.
Fixed-ratio reinforcement: A reinforcement schedule
in which reinforcements, on rewards, are only given
after a set number of response had been made since
the last reinforcement. Fixed-ratio reinforcement
schedules produce a very rapid response rate, but
have a low resistance to extinction.
Fixed-role therapy: A method of treatment derived from
personal construct theory in which the client agrees
to adopt particular ways of behaving which are
clearly different from ( though not opposite to) his
or her usual style. The method seems particularly
effective in undermining a belief that only one kind
of behaviour is possible.
Flagellantism: The process by which sexual partners
are aroused and gratified by whipping or being
whipped. It is also known as flagellation.
Flagellation: A masochistic or sadistic act in which one
or both participants derive stimulation, usually
erotic, from whipping or being whipped.
Flexibilitas cerea: See cerea flexibilitas.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Fliess, Wilhem (18581928): Berlin nose and throat

specialist who shared an early interest with Freud
in the physiology of sex and entered into a
prolonged correspondence that figures importantly
in the records of Freuds self analysis. Freud was
influenced by FliessS concept of bisexuality and
his theory of the periodicity of sex functions.
Flight into health: Phrase used to describe the rapid
symptomatic recovery sometimes displayed by
patients who wish to avoid psychoanalytical
investigation. Probably a manic defence.
Flight into illness: Phrase used to describe the escape
from conflict achieved by developing symptoms.
Flight of ideas: A nearly continuous flow of accelerated
speech with abrupt changes from topic to topic,
usually based on understandable associations,
distracting stimuli, or plays on wards. When severe,
the speech may be disorganized and incoherent.
Flight of ideas is most frequently seen in Manic
episodes, but may also be observed in some cases
of Organic Mental Disorders, Schizophrenia, other
psychotic disorders, and occasionally, acute reactions to stress.
Flocillation: Aimless plucking or picking, usually at
bed clothes or clothing. It is common in senile
psychosis and delirium.
Flooding (implosion): A behaviour therapy procedure
for phobias and other problems involving maladaptive anxiety, in which anxiety producers are
presented in intense forms, either in imagination
or in real life. The presentations are continued until
the stimuli no longer produce disabling anxiety.
Fluid intelligence: A general relation-perceiving capacity which represents ones potential intelligence
somewhat independent of socialization and education. Compare crystallized intelligence.
Focal conflict theory: Theory elaborated by Thomas
French in 1952 that explains the behaviour of a
person as an expression of his method of solving
currently experienced personality conflicts that


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

originated very early in his life, he constantly resonates to those early life conflicts.
Focal Person (FP): The individual who is being studied
in social psychology experiments.
Focal therapy: An approach to psychotherapy in which
a specific focus (problem) is identified early in the
therapy and efforts are concentrated on this focus
for the remainder treatment. The method was developed as part of the attempt to make psychotherapy
shorter and more cost-effective.
Folie a deux: A condition in which two closely related
persons, usually in the same family, share the same
delusions. In DSM-III-R called induced psychotic
disorder in recognition of the well known clinical
fact that not all such instances involve shared
delusions; they can also be manic, depressive, etc.
Forensic psychiatry: The branch of psychiatry that is
concerned with the legal aspects of mental illness.
Forensic psychology: The application of psychology
to legal matters. Includes work on reliability of
witnesses, evidence given by children, the consequences for children of possible court actions, and
the causes of criminal behaviour.
Foreplay: The sexual play that precedes sexual intercourse. It is also called forepleasure.
Fore-pleasure and end-pleasure: The terms enable the
pleasure associated with erotic activity to be
divided into (a) that associated with mounting
tension, fore-pleasure, and (b) that associated with
reduction of tension, end-pleasure, the former
being a tension-affect, and latter a discharge-affect.
Forgetting: Broadly speaking, theories of forgetting
can be stored into seven major approaches; decay
theory (the idea that memory traces gradually decay
overtime, unless strengthened by being retrieved);
interference theory; amnesia brought about through
physical causes; motivated forgetting; lack of
appropriate cues for retrieval; lack of the relevant

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


context for retrieval; and inadequate processing

during storage (see levels of processing theory).
Formal operational stage: The last of piagets four
stages of cognitive development. In the formal
operational stage, the individual has become
capable of abstract thought and can conceptualize
possibilities which are outside of direct experience.
Piaget considered this to be the highest form of
cognitive, and one which is shown only in human
beings, and from the age of about 12 years at the
earliest. The proceeding stages he viewed as steps
towards this point, which, on the basis that
ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, illustrated the
stages by which abstract logic must have evolved.
See also sensorimotor stage, pre-operational stage,
concrete operational stage, genetic epistemology.
Formal thought disorder: A disturbance in the form of
thought. The boundaries of the concept are not
clear and there is no consensus as to which
disturbances in speech or thoughts are included
in the concept. For this reason, formal thought
disorder is not used as a specific descriptive term
in DSM-II. See loosening of associations, incoherence, poverty of content of speech, neologisms,
perseveration, blocking, echolalia, changing.
Formication: A tactile hallucination involving the
sensation that tiny insects are crawling over the
skin. It is most commonly encountered in cocainism
and delirium tremens.
Foulkes, S.H. (19231989): English psychiatrist and
one of the organizers of the group therapy movement in Great Britain. His work combines Morenos
ideasthe here-and-now, the sociogenesis, the
social atom, the psychological network-with
psychoanalytic views. He stressed the importance
of group-as-a-whole phenomena. See also Group
analytic psychotherapy, Network.
Free association: Investigative psychoanalytic technique devised by Freud in which the patient seeks


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

to verbalize without reservation or censorship the

passing contents of his mind.
Free-floating anxiety: Severe, pervasive, generalized
anxiety that is not attached to any particular idea,
object, or event. It is observed particularly in
anxiety disorders, although it may be seen in some
cases of schizophrenia.
Free recall: In memory experiments, retrieval of stored
items in any order by the subjects. See retrieval.
Free will: The idea that, contrary to the claims of
determinism, the decisions and actions of agents
are not foreordained whether by the fate or by
Gods knowledge or by laws psychology or neurophysiology.
Frequency distribution: A statistical description of raw
data in terms of the number of cases that fall into
each interval within a set of data. Frequency or
frequency polygram.
Freud, Anna (18951982): Austrian psychoanalyst
and daughter of Sigmund Freud, noted for her
contributions to the development theory of
psychoanalysis and its applications to preventive
work with children.
Freud, Sigmund (18561939): Born on 6th May in
Freiberg, Moravia. Austrian psychiatrist and the
founder of psychoanalysis. With Josef, Breuer, he
explored the potentialities of cathartic therapy, then
went on to develop the analytic technique and such
fundamental concepts of mental phenomena as the
unconscious, infantile sexuality, repression, sublimation, and super go, ego, and id formation and
their applications throughout all spheres of human
behaviour. See also aggressive drive, Altruism,
Bisexuality. Cocaine, Conscious, Death instinct,
Dream, Drive, Ego, Free association, Hypnoid state,
id, infantile sexuality, Instinct, Interpretation of
dreams, Inversion, Latent homosexuality, Life
instinct, Minutes of the Vienna Psychoanalytic
Society, Oedipus complex, Parapraxis, Penies envy,

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Preconteria, Superego, Three Essays on the Theory

of sexuality, Unconscious, Vienna Psychoanalytic,
Society, Wednesday Evening Society.
Freudian slip: A mistake which can be interpreted as
revealing unconscious wishes, fears, etc. Freud
argued that all apparently accidental happenings
reveal something of the unconscious.
Frigidity: In the female, lack of sexual response or
feeling, ranging from complete lack of arousal to
incomplete climax. See also Anorgasmia, Impotence.
Frotteur: A person who becomes sexually aroused by
rubbing up against someone, usually without
specific genital contract, as in a crowd.
Frustration-aggression hypothesis: The proposal,
particularly associated with Leon Berkowitz, that
aggression is always caused by some kind of frustration. It also tends to be assumed that frustration
always leads to aggression. This theoretical model
has achieved widespread popularity, and is
supported by comparative studies of overcrowding
in animals as well as by studies of human behaviour.
Fugue: A dissociate disorder characterized by a period
of almost complete amnesia during which the
person actually flees from his immediate life
situation and begins a different life pattern. Apart
from the amnesia, metal faculties and skills are
usually unimpaired. See also Psychogenic amnesia.
Fulfillment: Satisfaction of a need or wish.
Functional: Referring to changes in functioning not
attributable to known organic alterations.
Functional fixedness: A form of einstellung, or mental
set, in which the individual is unable to deviate
from using objects in a manner consistent with the
normal functioning. So, for instance, in a problemsolving exercise, functional fixedness may prevent
someone from realizing that something like a jug
usually used to contain liquids, could also be
turned upside-down and used as a support.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Functionalism: The claim that psychological phenomena are best understood in terms of their functions
rather than their structure- which would be the claim
of structuralism. Concepts such as adaptation and
role, and therapeutic methods such as systemic
family therapy represent a functionalist approach.
Furor therapeutics: Disparaging term for therapeutic
enthusiasm. According to Freud, furor
therapeuticus is against the long-term interests of
patients being analysed.
Fusion: A term used in psychoanalysis to mean the
joining together of instincts.
Future shock: One of several theories about the stress
imposed by transitions and life events. The idea
was introduced in a book with that title by Alevin
Toffler to describe what he claimed were the traumatic
effects of our present rapid progress into the future.
Toffler proposed that people could be protected
against the effects of change by maintaining some
areas of stability in their lives.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


GABA (Gamma aminobutyric acid): The major
neurotransmitter in the brain implicated in several
psychiatric and neurologic conditions, mostly
notably Huntingtons disease. See also disinhibition.
Galton, Sir Francis 18221911): Born in Sparkbrook,
Birmingham, England, he was a Pioneer in the study
of individual differences and in the application of
statistical techniques to psychological problems.
His important contributions were The art of
travel, Inquiries into human faculty, Hereditary
genius and word Association Test.
Galvanic skin response (GSR): Also known as galvanic
skin resistance, this is a highly sensitive measurer
of arousal, registering even such slight increases
in arousal as are produced by a disturbing thought
or as slight pain. It refers to the electrical resistance
of the skin, which changes as a result of increases
in the rate of sweating. GSR detectors form an
important component in polygraphs, which record
a range of physiological indicators of psychological
events, and may be used as lie-detectors.
Gamblers fallacy: A belief that if a chance event
occurs, then it is less likely to occur on the next
trail. If red comes up several times running on a
roulette wheel there is a (mistaken) tendency to
believe that black is more likely on the next throw.
This universal tendency has been of interest to


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

cognitive theorists as it is a failure to follow

probabilistic logic and so may shed light on how
humans assess probability. It may best be seen to
reflect the fact that genuine instances of random
sampling without replacement are uncommon in
real life and not as a failure to judge probabilities
acutely. The gamblers fallacy is therefore a normally effective strategy which becomes inappropriate in certain, rather artificial, circumstances.
Gambling, pathological: See Pathological gambling.
Game: The psychological uses of this term are similar
to the ordinary meaning except that the idea of
playfulness is usually absent. So a game is an
activity within defined limits in which all of the
participants operate according to agreed rules.
Much of social interaction can be regarded as a
game, with plenty of scope for problems when the
rules and the limits of the game are not made
explicitly. Eric Berne was one of the first to explore
this concept in this book Games People Play. Game
theory is a specific approach which express the
rules of the game in mathematical terms so that the
possible strategies can be precisely identified and
their consequences predicted. See also zero-sum
Gamophobia: Fear of marriage.
Ganser syndrome: Ganser in 1987, described two
prisoners who developed brief bouts of mental
illness characterized by disturbed consciousness,
Hallucinations, sensory changers of hysterical kind
and characteristic answers to questions. These
episodes terminated abruptly with subsequent
amnesia for the episode and complete recovery,
Enoth and Trethowan (1979) listed the four essentials diagnostic features as approximate answers,
clouding of consciousness, somatic conversion
and visual and/or auditory hallucinations (pseudohallucinations). The condition is not confined to
prisoners. The causes have been listed as schizophrenia, neurosyphilis, alcoholism, Kotdskoggs

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


psychosis, cerebrovascular disease, depression,

mental retardation, trauma and artefactual illness.
Gaslight phenomenon: A type of imposed psychosis,
described Barton and Whithead in which a
presentation of metal illness is found, on further
enquiry, to have been induced or imposed on the
patient by some other person for the other persons
gain. Among these gains is removal of the patient
to a hospital.
Gaze: Reactions to others depend on how they are
perceived and how their behaviours is interpreted.
It follows that how much people look and when
and where they look are crucial for their social
Geisteswissenchaftliche psychologie: Originally
referred to psychology as it explores the transindividual, objective mind and its products, then its
relations to individual, subjective minds hence the
alleged foundation of Giesteswissenschaften (i.e.,
the humanities, historical and cultural sciences). It
was coined by E. Spranger.
Gegenhalten: Neurological term for active but
involuntary resistance to passive movement of the
Gelatio: Regid state of the body in catalepsy.
Gender identity disorder: A psychosexual disorder in
which the person feels discomfort and
inappropriateness about his or her anatomical sex.
See also transsexualism.
Gender role: The public declaration of gender identitythat is, the image of malenmess or femaleness that
the person presents to others. It may or may not
coincide with gender identity.
Gender role disorder: A condition in which conflict,
worth resulting distress, is experienced between
the external appearance and orientation of
assigned sex on the one hand, and biological sex
and/or gender identity on the other. Cultural;
factors may be prepotent. Transsexualism exemplifies the condition.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Gene: The basic unit of heredity. It is composed of

DNA and is contained within the cell chromosome.
General adaptation syndrome (GAS): A long-term
response to stressful stimulation identified by Selye
in 1949. It is characterized by extremely high levels
of adrenaline in the bloodstream, but without rapid
heart and pulse rates normally associated with
adrenaline release. The general adaptation system
has been shown to result in increased susceptibility
to illness, possibly through a decline in the number
of white blood cells and antibodies produced by
the body.
General intelligence factor (G): The idea of one overall
capacity of intelligence suggested by Galton and
Spearman. Many psychologists consider this to
be a contentious view, arguing that intelligence is
a combination of many different skills and
attributes. Most intelligent tests are based on the
assumption that a generalized intelligence factor,
or g, can be calculated as a result of the administering of a set of specialized sub-tests, and it is a
consequence of this belief that the Intelligence
Quotient, or IQ, has been so widely applied.
General adaptational syndrome (GAS): Hans Selyes
term for the responses of the body to major stress,
passing through the alarm reaction, resistance and,
finally, exhaustion.
Generalization: Process by which a behaviour occurs
in a setting in which it had not previously being
Generalized anxiety disorder: A DSM-III classification
of anxiety disorder characterized by severe
generalized anxiety not attached to any particular
idea, object or event. See also Free-floating anxiety
General problem-solver (GPS): A computer program
designed in early 1970s, which emphasized the
use of heuristics in tackling specific problems; and
which formed the prototype for many subsequent

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


attempts at computer simulation, within the general

field of artificial intelligence.
General systems theory: Theoretical framework
viewing phenomena from the standpoint of the
systems (groups of organized interacting components) involved in the phenomena. In psychiatry,
it emphasizes an integrated, holistic view of
personality and behaviour.
Generalization: The process by which a learned
response will occur in more situations than those
in which it was first learned; it will also be applied
to similar situations.
Generalization gradient: The relationship between the
strength of a given response and the similarity of
the triggering stimulus to the original stimulus.
When electing a generalized response, a stimulus
which is very similar to the original will produce a
strong response, while one which is less similar
will evoke weaker response.
Genetic(s): In the singular, concerning the origin of
something. Used particularly to refer to the development of abilities and characteristics of children (see
genetic epistemology) but also applies to the
development of characteristics in a species or the
development of the species itself. See ontogeny
and phylogeny. In the plural, genetics refers to the
study of genes and their actions. See behaviour
Genetic counseling: Presentation and discussion,
generally with a prospective parental couple, of
factors involved in the inheritance of pathological
conditions as they relate to the couples genetic
Genetic engineering: The process of altering genetic
characteristics through microscopic surgical or
chemical intervention; usually taking the form of
inserting a new section of chromosome into an
existing one, such that when the chromosome is
replicated, the new portion is also replicated and
becomes part of the organisms overall genotype.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Genetic epistemology: The little for a theory of the

growth of knowledge and understanding. It is
usually reserved for Jen Piagets theory charting
the development of the childs cognitive functioning through a series of stages.
Genetic material: In psychiatry, data out of the patients
personal past history that are useful in developing
an understanding of the psychodynamics of his
present adaptation. See also current material.
Genetic psychology: The psychology of development
(not of genetics). It covers the psychological development of both individuals and species but the
term is no longer widely used.
Genital phase: The final stage of psychosexual
development. It occurs during puberty. In this
stage the person can achieve sexual gratification
from general-to-genital contact and has the
capacity for a mature, affectionate relationship with
someone of the opposite sex. See also Phenotype.
Geriatrics: Branch of medicine that deals with the aged
and the problems of aging Geriatric psychiatry is
also known as geropsychiatry. See also Gerontology.
Geronotology: The scientific study of aging.
Gestalt psychology: A form of psychology popular in
Europe in the first half of the twentieth century,
which gathered support in opposition to the
mechanistic approach of the behaviourist school
in America. Gestalt psychology emphasizes the
holistic nature of the human being and opposes
stimulus response reductionism, on the grounds
that the whole is more than the sum of its parts,
and that there are many aspects of perception,
memory and learning processes which cannot be
understood in terms of collections of smaller units,
but which are complete and unitary in themselves.
The Gestalt emphasis on cognitive psychology
provided an important background to the
cognitive revolution of the 1960s and 1970s.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Gestalt principles of perception: An attempt to describe

the important features of perceptual functioning
through a set of principles which are consistent
with the gestalt emphasis on wholes. See law of
Gestalt therapy: Type of psychotherapy that emphasizes the treatment of the person as a wholehis
biological component parts and their organic
functioning, his perceptual configuration, and his
interrelationships with the outside world. Gestalt
therapy, developed by Frederic S. Perls, can be
used in either an individual or a group therapy,
setting. It focuses on the sensory awareness of
the persons here and now experiences, rather than
on past recollections or future expectations. Gestalt
therapy uses role playing and other techniques to
promote the patients growth process and to
develop his full potential.
Gesture: A mode of non-verbal communication in which
information is conveyed by movement, usually
(but not always) of the hands and arms. Gestures
tend to vary considerably from one culture to
another, and the same sign may have a very
different meaning even in neighbouring countries.
Giles de ta Tourettes disease: A rate illness that has
its onset in childhood; First described by a Paris
physician, Gilles de la Tourette, the disease is
characterized by involuntary muscular movements
and motor in coordination, accompanied by
echolalia and coprolalia.
Glick effect: Positive correlation between dropping out
of school and subsequent marital instability
(Marriage drop-out).
Globus hystericus: A symptom in which the person is
disturbed by the sensation of a lump in his throat.
It is manifestation of anxiety.
Glossolalia: Gibberish-like speech, or speaking in
Goal: The place, condition or object that satisfies a


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Go-around: Techniques used in group therapy in which

the therapist requires each member of the group to
respond to another member, a theme, or an association. This procedure encourages the partici
pation of all members in the group.
God complex: A belief sometimes seen in therapists that
one can accomplish more than is humanly possible
or that ones word should not be doubted. The
God complex of the aging psychoanalyst was first
discussed by Ernest Jones, Freuds biographer. See
also Mother Superior complex.
Goffman, Erving: Born in 1922 in Manville, Alta, Canada
he was a sociologist who has had an enormous,
influence on thinking and studies of the self (and
self representation) institutionalization, roles and
social interaction.
Gradient of generalization: The amount of stimulus
generalization depends on how similar the test
stimuli are to be the stimuli present during learning.
See stimulus generalization.
Gradients of texture: One of the principal monocular
cues for depta perception, consists of a gradation
in the fineness of detail which can be seen at
increasing distances from the viewer.
Grandiose delusion: Delusion of grandeur. See also
Gray out syndrome: A psychosis that occurs in pilots
flying in the stratosphere, out of sight of the
Grief: Alteration in mood and affect consisting of
sadness appropriate to a real loss. Normally, it is
self-limited. See also depression.
Grief reaction: A response by a bereaved person to
the loss, that characteristically proceeds from a
phase of shock and bewilderment, via a depressive
preoccupation with the deceased, to a gradual
period of resolution. Deviations from this sequence
are common and morbid patterns of grieving may
constitute a frank depressive illness. Synonyms:
Bereavement reaction; brief depressive reaction

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


related to bereavement; uncomplicated bereavement.

Group analytic psychotherapy: Term applied by S.H.
Foulkes to the early group procedure he developed
in 1948. Interventions dealt primarily with group,
rather than individual, forces and processes, and
the group was used as the principal therapeutic
agent. Foulkes is considered a pioneer in the field
of group psychotherapy.
Group cohesion: The mutual bonds formed between
members of a group as a result of their concerted
effort for a common interest and purpose. Until
cohesiveness is achieved the group cannot
concentrate its full energy on a common task.
Group dynamics: Phenomena that occur in groups; the
movement of a group from its inception to its
termination. Interactions and interrelations among
members and between the members and the
therapist create tension, which maintain a
constantly changing group equilibrium. The
interactions and the tension they create are highly
influenced by individual members psychological
make-up, unconscious instinctual drives, motives,
wishes and fantasies. The understanding and the
effective use of group dynamics are essential in
group treatment. It is also known as group process.
See also Lewin, Kurt; psychodynamics.
Group norms: Standards of behaviour or thought
expected of group members, a person in a group
must follow the norms set by the group or suffer
the social consequences. See conformity.
Group pressure: Demand by group members that
individual members submit and conform to group
standards, values, and behaviour.
Group process: See Group dynamics.
Group psychotherapy: Application of psychotherapeutic techniques to a group of patients, using
interpatient interactions to effect changes in the
maladaptive behaviour of the individual members.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

See also Activity group therapy, Psychoanalytic

group psychotherapy. Repressive inspirational
group psychotherapy.
Group relations theory: See Allports group relations
Group test: A psychometric test which is administered
to several people at once, by a single tester; such
as some of the school-type intelligence tests.
Group think: The conformity of opinion that arises
under certain conditions in decision-making
groups; often due to the reluctance of some
members of the group to voice criticism.
Growth motive: A term used in humanistic models of
personality to describe the tendency of human
beings towards personal growth development, not
only through the acquisition of new skills and
experience, but also through cognitive reevaluation and an increased sense of personal control
and autonomy. Humanistic psychologists consider
this to be a very basic motive in the human being,
and fundamental to an understanding of mentally
healthy behaviour.
Grubelsucht: Brooding over trifles; seen most
commonly in obsessive compulsive neurosis and
depressive psychoses.
Guardianship: In most jurisdictions, in the context of
mental illness, a person under guardianship by
reason of mental illness is under the total control
of another person or persons and in the status of a
ward with respect to the both his body (as in
consenting to surgery) and fiscal or contractual
Guilt: Emotional state associated with self-reproach
and the need for punishment. In psychoanalysis,
guilt refers to a neurotic feeling of culpability that
stems from a conflict between the ego and the
superego. It begins developmentally with parental
disapproval and becomes internalized as
conscience in the course of superego formation.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Guilt has normally psychological and social

functions, but special intensity or absence of guilt
characterizes many mental disorders, such as
depression and antisocial personality, respectively.
Some psychiatrists distinguish shame as a less
internalized form of guilt. According to classical
theory, the neurotic sense of guilt arises as infantile
sexual and aggressive wishes. Guilt differs from
anxiety is that (a) anxiety is experienced to an act
already committed and (b) the capacity to
experience guilt is contingent on the capacity to
internalize objects whereas the capacity to
experience anxiety is not.
Gustatory hallucination: See Hallucination.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Habeas corpus: Legal term for the right to petition a
court to decide whether confinement has been
undertaken with due process of law.
Habit: In behaviourist terms, a habit is described simply
as a learned stimulus-response sequence; in
cognitive psychology it is seen as a set of automatic routines and sub-routines in which the
individual engages, and which, owing to frequent
exercise, requires little conscious cognitive input.
The learning process involved in acquiring a habit
is likely to involve classical conditioning, but will
not be habituation.
Habit, complaint: Kanners term for hypochondriasis
is in children.
Habituation: A very basic form of learning which
involves gradually ceasing to respond to a nonsignificant stimulus which is repeatedly experienced. Ceasing to notice the ticking of a clock is a
typical example. Habituation can be distinguished
from fatigue by the fact that a small change in the
stimulus will result in the response reappearing, a
process called dishabituation. Habituation is
essential in allowing organisms to concentrate on
those properties of stimuli which have significance
for them, and to avoid having the cognitive system
overloaded with irrelevant information. So, far
example, car drivers do not habituate to the sight
of red at the top of a traffic light, but they are likely

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


to have difficulty in remembering the colour of the

stripes the poles are painted.
Habromania: General term for morbid gaiety.
Halfway children: R. Geists term for chronically ill
children and adolescents who are neither well nor
sick as to require continuous intensive inpatient
Halfway house: A specialized residence for patients who
do not require full hospitalization but who need an
intermediate degree of care before returning to
independent community living.
Halloween effect: Hyperactivity and other behavioural
and cognitive disfunction in response to ingestion
of sugar, such as candy given to children in the
trick-or-treat ritual of Halloween.
Hallucination: A false sensory perception occurring in
the absence of any relevant external stimulation of
the sensory modality involved. Examples include:
Auditory hallucination. Hallucination of sound,
Gustatory hallucination. Hallucination of taste.
Hypnagogic hallucination. Hallucination occurring
while falling asleep (ordinarily not considered
pathological). Hypnopompic halluncination.
Hallucination occurring while awaking for sleep
(ordinarily not considered pathological). Kinesthetic hallucination. Hallucination of bodily
movement. Lilliputian hallucination. Visual
sensation that persons or objects are reduced in
size; it is more properly regarded as an illusion
(see also Micropsia). Olfactory hallucination.
Hallucination involving smell. Somatic hallucination. Hallucination involving the perception
of a physical experience localized within the body.
Tactile (haptic) hallucination, Hallucination
involving the sense of touch. Visual hallucination.
Hallucination involving sight.
Hallucination, effective: A hallucination in which the
content is either grandiose or self-deprecatory or
involves other features common to a depressive
syndrome, such as guilt, disease, or poverty.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Hallucinogen: A drug which induces hallucinogens are

psilocybin and LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide),
but there are many others, including mescaline and
that contained in the fly agaric mushroom.
Traditionally, hallucinogens have formed an
integral part of religious and social ceremonies in
many parts of the world. In the west they are
normally used as recreational drugs, although
there have been several instances of artists and
creative writers utilizing their effects to obtain
special insights for their work, and one or two
investigations of their usefulness in certain kind
of therapy. Term is used synonymously with
Hallucinosis: A state in which a person experiences
hallucinations without any impairment of
Halos effect: The improvement in anxiety may sometime
spuriously improve depression is known as Halos
effect. It is also used in statistics as a source of
error where the patient answers to fit with
previously chosen answers (say in a questionnaire).
See Hawthorne effect also. An effect in which
people or objects who are judged positively on
one characteristic are also judged positively on
others. For instance, a person who is judged to be
physically attractive is more likely to be perceived
as being more amusing, or intelligent, than a
physically less attractive individual of similar
Handedness: The term for specialization in use of one
hand which develops in humans during the first
years of life. Often the preferred foot or the preferred
eye are not on the same side as the preferred hand.
Handedness is thought by some to related to
hemisphere dominance. Since the right cerebral
hemisphere controls the left side of the body and
vice versa, people who are right-handed are
thought to be left-hemisphere-dominant, while left
handed people to be right hemisphere dominant.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


The evidence relating handedness to cerebral

dominance is at times contradictory, despite the
plausibility of the idea.
Haplology: Rapid speech in which syllables are left out.
It is seen in certain manias and in schizophrenic
Haptic hallucination: See hallucination.
Harmons Diaphragm test: It helps in differentiating
monocular blindedness of organic in nature from
functional type. In this test, if both eyes are open,
a patient with organic type of blindness will be
unable to tell with which eye objects are seen or
the patient will be able to see contralateral half of
letters whereas in blindness of functional origin,
patient sees all letters or those on ipsilateral side.
Hawthorne effect: The phenomenon that when changes
are introduced into a work environment in order to
bring about an increase in productivity, there may
be a temporary increase in productivity just
because changes have been tried. An entirely
useless change may therefore appear to work
unless the effects are tested over a reasonable
period. Hawthorne effects illustrate the importance
of social factors and expectations in the working
Healthy identification: Modeling of oneself, consciously or unconsciously, on another person who
has a sound psychic make-up. The identification
has constructive results. See also imitation.
Hebephrenia: A complex of symptoms considered a
form of schizophrenia. It is characterized by wild
or silly behaviour or mannerisms, inappropriate
affect, frequent hypochondriacal complaints, and
delusions and hallucinations that are transient and
unsystematized. Hebephrenic schizophrenia is
listed in DSM III as disorganized schizophrenia.
See also schizophrenia.
Hecker Ewald: (18431909) German psychiatrist known
from his studies in hebephrenia (a term he coined).


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Hedonism: In philosophy, hedonism is the idea that

pleasure or happiness is the highest good. In
psychology, it is the idea that it is fundamental to
human beings to seek pleasure and to avoid pain,
and that this in itself is a valid explanation of much
Heider, Fritz: Born in 1896 in Vienna, he was the center
of a variant of gestalt psychology. His main
contributions were The psychology of
interpersonal relations, and Studies on topics the
analysis of action of desire and pleasure, the
structure of sentiments, the concepts of ought and
value, of request and command of benefit and harm.
Helplessness theory: An approach to human functioning deriving from Seligmans studies of learned
helplessness in animals. Some animals were found
to react to unpleasant situations over which they
had no control by ceasing all attempts to change
the situation. Their state of passivity and apathy
was felt to resemble depression and so a theory
that depression results from experiences of helplessness was proposed by Seligman in the mid
1970s. Subsequently the theory has been revised
and integrated with attribution theory.
Hemispheric dominance: The observation that in most
individuals, one side of the brain is more influential
or has greater control over the body that the other
side, thus possibly producing right or left handedness, etc.
Herd instinct: Desire to belong to a group and to
participate in social activities, Wilfred Trotter used
the term to indicate the presence of a hypothetical
social instinct in humans. In psychoanalysis, herd
instinct is viewed as a social phenomenon, rather
than as an instinct.
Here-and-now approach: A technique that focuses on
understanding the interpersonal and intrapersonal
responses and reactions as they occur in the
ongoing treatment session. Little or no emphasis
is put on past history and experience.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Heredity: The processes by which part of the biological

potential of the parent is transmitted to the
offspring. In sexual reproduction this involves half
of the genetic material of each parent combining to
form the complete genetic structure of the offspring.
See also chromosome, gene.
Heritability estimate: A figure which purports to state
the proportion of influence exerted by genes on
the individuals development. Despite the fact that
many developmental geneticists and psychologists
(e.g., Hebb) have demonstrated unequivocally how
inseparable genetics and the environment are, such
figures continue to be constructed. The most wellknown heritability estimate is that of 80% genetic
influence on the variation in intelligence, put
forward by Jensen in 1969 on the basis of Cyril
Burts fraudulent data on twin studies. Controversy
concerns not so much the estimate of 80% as the
conclusions to be drawn from any estimate of
Hermaphrodite: A person who has both female and
male gonads, usually one sex dominating.
Hermeneutic interpretative theory: The theory of
human understanding in its interpretive aspect.
A hermeneutic is a set of practices or recommendations for revealing an intelligible meaning of an
otherwise unclear text or text analogue.
Hermeneutics: The study of meanings in social
behaviour and experience. It is concerned with
meanings on a number of level, which range
through the conscious and unconscious, personal,
and social to the cultural and sociopolitical levels.
Rather than simply looking at the generalities of
behaviour, or at statistical information, hermeneutics is concerned with the interpretation of
experience, and the ways in which various forms
of symbolism are used to convey meaning in
human life.
Heroin: The illicit opioid most commonly used by
narcotics addicts. Larger and larger amounts of


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

the drug are craved to achieve the same narcotic

and analgesic effects. Injected intravenously, it
produces a more rapid onset of euphoria than does
morphine. Although on a weight basis it is about
2.5 times as potent as morphine. It does not
produce more euphoria, greater physical dependence, or fewer side effects. Its popularity in illicit
trade may be related to its small bulk and ease of
Heterogeneity: Dissimilarity in the genotypical
structure of individuals originating through sexual
Heterolalia: The substitution of meaningless or
inappropriate words for those meant or untended,
Heteronomous morality: The second of Piagets stage
of moral development, this is also known as the
moral realism stage. At this point, morality is
considered to be subject to the laws of others; in
other words, the child accepts as right and proper
the rules given by authority.
Heterosexuality: Sexual attraction or contact between
opposite-sex persons. The capacity for heterosexual arousal is probably innate, biologically
programmed, and triggered in very early life,
perhaps in part by olfactory modalities, as seen in
lower animals. See also Bisexuality, Homosexuality.
Heterozygous: Possessing different allelic forms of a
gene at a given locus in homologous chromosomes.
Hidden observer: The term given to the experience of a
dispassionate inner self which observes the
individual in stressful situations, or during day to
day living. Such an experience is particularly
common during hypnosis, in which the hidden
observer is felt to have experiences which are
parallel to, but not the same as the hypnotized self.
In psychotherapy, the objective part of the
therapist which comments on his or her feelings

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


and involvement with the patient is called the

observing ego.
Hierarchy: A structured form of organization constructed in levels, with each level overshadowing
or dominating the lower ones. The idea of hierarchy
is used in many different ways; a hierarchy of
concepts, for instance, refers to the ways in which
concepts may be stored in the brain, such that
general concepts contain within themselves smaller
constituent units. The analysis of organizations is
almost always formulated in terms of hierarchies.
Hierarchy of needs: Maslows hierarchy of human
needs refers to the idea that human needs become
important in systematic progression. Lower, more
basic needs such as food and security are
important first, and higher needs such as for
beauty and self actualization only become
important once the lower levels have been satisfied.
The theory applies both developmentally and to
the mature person. According to Maslow children
must be adequately satisfied at one level before
they start to develop motivations at the next level,
so the higher stages are not reached for several
years and self-actualization may take atleast 30
years to achieve. Adults may be stuck at a lower
level if they have never experienced sufficient
satisfaction at that level, but even those who have
progressed higher may cease to be motivated at
the upper levels if they are seriously threatened in
a more basic way. For example, the need for dignity
ceases to matter is you look up and find you are in
danger of being run down by a bus.
Higher-order need strength: The concept was derived
from Maslow theory according to which needs exist
in a hierarchy of prepotency from lower (Physiological i.e., safety) to higher (Social; e.g., self esteem
and self actualization) and from Alderfers
modification which posits three levels of needs
existence, relatedness and growth. This concept


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

was based on the work of Hackman and Oldham

Historical psychology: Psychology concerned with
cross-time alterations on transformations in patters
of human conduct and their psychological bases.
Historicism: A term indicating the tendency to regard
all cultural phenomena, including philosophies and
world views, as the result of historical development. Humanistic psychology; An approach to
psychology which includes love, involvement and
spontaneity instead of systematically excluding
them. It aims at the liberation of people from the
bonds of neurotic control whether these derive
from the structure of society or from the
psychological condition of individuals.
Histrionic personality disorder: A condition which the
patient, usually an immature and dependent
person, exhibits unstable, over reactive, and
excitable self dramatizing behaviour that is aimed
at gaining attention and is at times seductive
although the person may not be aware of that aim.
It was termed hysterical personality in DSM-II.
Holism: An approach to the study of the individual in
totality, rather than as an aggregate of separate
physiologic, psychologic and social characteristics.
Holistic: Complete, treating its subject matter as a
coherent and indivisible unit. For instance, a holistic
approach to medicine would involve dealing with
the whole person, including their own experiences,
stresses, and understanding of the situation, rather
than simply treating the symptom.
Holophrastic: Using single word to express a combination of ideas. Schizophrenics may use holophrastic
Homeostasis: The tendency to maintain a constancy
and stability of bodily processes to ensure optimal
functioning; the state of bodily equilibrium and
the processes whereby such equilibrium is maintained.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Homosexuality: Sexual attraction or contact between

same-sex persons. Some authors distinguish two
types; Overt and latent. See also Ego-dystonic
homosexuality, Inversion, Lesbianism.
Homosexual panic: The sudden, acute onset of severe
anxiety, precipitated impulses. See also Homosexuality.
Hoovers test: It is for unilateral leg paralysis, capitalizes
on psychological principle that when supine
patients try to lift one leg against resistance, there
is compensatory downward thrust of other leg
which can be detected by examiners hand under
heel. This is present only in paralysis or paresis of
organic in nature and not in hysterical paresis.
Horney, Karen (18851952): Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst whose theories of the genesis of neurosis
emphasized environmental and cultural factors and
thus departed from the biological-instinctual
framework of orthodox Freudian thought. See also
Basic anxiety.
Hospitalism in children: A syndrome closely related
to anaclitic depression, developing in infants in
hospital who are separated from their mothers or
mother-surrogates for long periods of time. It is
characterized by listlessness, unresponsiveness,
emaciation and pallor, poor appetite and disturbed
sleep, febrile episodes, lack of sucking habits, and
an appearance of unhappiness. The disorder is
reversible if the mother, or mother surrogate, and
child are reunited within 23 weeks. Synonym:
reactive attachment disorder of infancy.
Hostile aggression: Aggression in which the objective
is to inflict harm on the other, as opposed to
instrumental aggression which is undertaken for
some other purpose. See aggression.
Hsieh-Ping: A culture-specific trance like state seen in
Taiwan, characterized by tremor, disorientation,
delirium, and ancestor identification and often
accompanied by visual or auditory hallucinations.
The seizure, may last from, 30 minutes to several

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Humanistic psychology: An approach within psychology which emphasizes the whole person and their
scope for change. Humanistic psychologists reject
the reductionist approach of many researchers,
which action simply as collections of separate
mechanisms; and they also argue against the
dehumanization and objectifying of human
behaviour produced by trivial laboratory investigations and behaviouristic attitude with psychology. Instead, they argue that psychologists should
take more account of the whole person, including
attitudes, values, and responses top social situations (including experiments). To attempt to study
people in a regimented way, is, they think, to ignore
the essence of what it is to be human. There are
many humanistic psychologists, of whom Carl
Rogers is perhaps the most famous. Humanistic
psychology is also closely link with the phenomenological approach within psychology.









Fig. 3. The theory of the Humours & Eysenck

Personality Inventory.

Humanistic Theory: A group of diverse theories that

share a holistic conceptualization that emphasis
the uniqueness, value, dignity, and worth of each
human being as an individual. Human behaviour

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


is considered understandable only in terms of the

meaning of experiences for the individual person;
it represents a complex interplay of numerous
physical, psychological, and sociocultural factors.
Humiliation: Sense of disgrace, dishonour, and shame;
it is often experienced by depressed patients.
Humour: A stimulus, a response or a disposition.
Commonly it is referred to the excitement of amusement, the expression of amusement and temporary
and habitual conditions of the mind.
Hydromania: Impulse to commit suicide by drowning.
Hygiene factors: Factors in the working environment,
identified by Hertzberg, which are to do with the
working conditions of the individual, such as shift
organization, staff facilities, and organizational
structure. In investigations of job satisfaction,
Hertzberg found that bad hygiene factors contributed considerably to job dissatisfaction, but that
incentives known as motivators (e.g., promotion
prospects, a sense of goals etc.) were necessary
to produce job satisfaction itself.
Hyperactivity: Increased muscular activity. The term is
commonly used to describe a disturbance found
in children that is manifested by constant restlessness, over-activity, distractibility and difficulties
in learning. It is also known as hyperkinesis. The
hyperkinetic syndrome is also referred to as minimal
brain dysfunction, although its precise cause remains unknown. See also attention deficit disorder.
Minimal brain dysfunction.
Hyperalgesia: Excessive sensitivity to pain.
Hyperesthesia: Increased sensitivity to tactile stimulation.
Hyperkiness: Excessive, unintentional motor activity
of the limbs or any part of the body, appearing
spontaneously or in response to stimulation. Hyperkinesis is a feature of a variety of organic disorders
of the central nervous system but may also appear
in the absence of a demonstrable localized lesion.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Hyperkinetic syndrome of childhood: Disorders in

which the essential the features are short attentionspan and distractibility. In early childhood the most
striking symptom is disinhibited, poorly organized
and poorly regulated extreme overactivity, but in
adolescence this may be replaced by underactivity.
Impulsiveness, marked mood fluctuations and
aggressiveness are also common symptoms. Delays
in the development of specific skills are often
present and disturbed, poor relationships are
common. Synonym: attention deficit disorder with
Hyperlexic: Hyperlexic children are those who learn to
read extremely quickly, with little apparent difficulty.
The opposite of dyslexic.
Hypermnesia: Exaggerated degree of retention and
recall. It can be elicited by hypnosis and may be
seen in certain prodigies; it may be a feature of
obsessive-compulsive disorder, some cases of
schizophrenia, and manic episodes of bipolar
affective disorder.
Hyperorexia: Extreme appetite. See also Bulimia.
Hyperphrenia: (Hyperfragia) (1) Excessive mental
activity, such as occurs in the manic phase of manic
depressive psychosis or in the severe preoccupations association with the neuroses. (2) Intellectual
capacity for above the average.
Hyperpragia: Excessive thinking and mental activity,
generally associated with the manic phase of
bipolar affective disorder.
Hypersomnia: Excessive time spent asleep. It is not
related to narcolepsy.
Hyperventilation: Excessive breathing generally associated with anxiety. A reduction in blood carbon
dioxide produces symptoms of light-headedness,
palpitations, numbness and tingling periorally and
in extremities, and occasionally syncope.
Hypervigilance: The continual scanning of the environment for signs of threat.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Hypesthesia: Diminished sensitivity to tactile stimulation.

Hypnagogic: Referring to the semiconscious state
immediately preceding sleep; may include hallucinations, which are of no pathologic significance.
Hypnagogic imagery: Vivid visual imagery which is
experienced during the transition from walking to
sleep. It often makes the form of an unusually clear
image of an object that has been subject of intense
concentration during the day, but the most common
image is of falling. Hypnopompic imagery, which
is rarer, is a similar kind of imagery which occurs
during waking.
Hypnoanalysis: The use of hypnosis is psychoanalysis
to gain access to unconscious processes that the
patient cannot reveal by means of ordinary therapeutic maneuvers.
Hypnodrama: Psychodrama under hypnotic trance. The
patient is put into a hypnotic trance and encouraged
to act out various past experiences.
Hypnoid state: A term introduced by Freud describing
an alteration of consciousness that occurs characteristically in hysteria during periods of emotional
stress. It is characterized by heightened suggestibility, and it provides a basis for hysterical somatic
symptom formation.
Hypnopompic: Referring to the state immediately
preceding awakening; may include hallucinations,
which are of no pathologic significance.
Hypnosis: Artificially induced alteration of consciousness characterized by increased suggestibility and
receptivity to direction. See also Mesmerisman
early term for hypnosis.
Hypnotherapy: A type of therapy that makes use of
hypnosis. See also symptom substitution.
Hypochondriasis: A somatoform disorder characterized
by excessive, morbid anxiety about ones health.
The term is derived from the belief that the state


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

was caused by some dysfunction in the hypochondrium, especially the spleen. Hypochondriacal
patients express predominant disturbance in which
the physical symptoms or complaints are not
explainable on the basis of demonstrable organic
findings and are apparently linked to psychological
factors. Also known as hypochondriacal neurosis.
Hypomania: A psychopathologic state and abnormality
of mood falling somewhere between normal
euphoria and mania. It is characterized by unrealistic optimism, pressure of speech and activity, and
a decreased need for sleep. Some people show
increased creativity during hypomanic states, while
others show poor judgement irritability, and irascibility. See also bipolar disorder.
Hypothesis: An idea which is not proven, or which is
advanced as a tentative suggestion or possible
explanation. In terms of formal experimental method,
an hypothesis is an idea, derived logically and
consistently from a specific psychological theory,
which contains an explicit prediction which can be
verified or refuted by some kind of empirical
investigation, usually an experiment. See null hypothesis.
Hypothetico-deductive method: The technique of
investigation outlined by Popper as being central
to the scientific method. It consists of investigating
by means of the formulation of an explicit hypothesis containing an explicit prediction as to what
would happen in a given situation. An empirical
investigation would then be set up to test the
hypothesis, i.e., to see if the prediction were true.
If the hypothesis were retained because the prediction worked, that would be taken as support for
the theory from which the hypothesis was derived.
If, on the other hand, the hypothesis were refuted,
that would be taken (in an idealized world) as
evidence against the original theory; and an
alternative explanation would have to be found.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Hysteria: A mental disorder in which motives, of which

the patient seems unaware, produce either a
restriction of the field of consciousness or disturbances of motor or sensory function which may
seem to have psychological advantage or symbolic
value. It may be characterized by conversion
phenomena or dissociative phenomena. In the
conversion form the chief or only symptoms
consist or psychogenic disturbance of function in
some part of the body. E.g., paralysis, tremor,
blindness, deafness or seizures. In the dissociative
variety the most prominent feature is a narrowing
of the field of consciousness which seems to serve
an unconscious purpose and is commonly
accompanied or followed by a selective amnesia.
There may be dramatic but essentially superficial
changes of personality sometimes taking the form
of a fugue. Behaviour may mimic psychosis or,
rather, the patients idea of psychosis. Synonyms:
hysterical neurosis; conversion hysteria.
Hysterical anaesthesia: Functional disorder characterized by the absence of tactile sensation in an
area of the body. It is observed in certain cases of
conversion disorder.
Hysterical neurosis: A DSM-II diagnostic category for
a neurosis involving a sudden impairment of
function in response to emotional stress. In the
conversion type there is functional impairment in
one of the special senses or in the voluntary
nervous system; the dissociative type is manifested
by an alteration in state of consciousness or by
such symptoms as amnesia, disorientation, fugue,
somnambulism, or multiple personality. In DSMIII they are also called conversion disorder and
dissociative disorder.
Hysterical personality: See Histrionic personality
Hysterical psychosis: A term applied to a psychotic
reaction to stressful circumstances occurring predominantly, but not exclusively, in individuals with


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

hysterical personality traits. The illness is usually

short-lived and may take one of several forms;
stupor twilight state, pseudodementia, Gansers
syndrome, fugue, and a schizophrenia-like state.
Some culture bound psychiatric syndromes e.g.,
Latah, also have marked hysterical features.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Iatrogenic illness: A disease accidentally caused or
aggravated by a physician.
ICD: International Classification of Diseases.
Iconic representation: The coding or representing of
memories by utilizing sensory images (from the
Greek icon meaning; image). Iconic representation
is usually used to refer to visual imagery, and was
considered to the second mode of representation
to develop, according to Bruner. See also enactive
representation, symbolic representation.
Iconomania: Morbid impulse to worship and/or collect
Id: Part of Freuds structural theory of mental functioning. The id is that part of the psychic apparatus
that operates unconsciously, harbours the innate,
biological, instinctual drives; and is the source of
psychic energy (libido). If follows the pleasure
principle, seeks immediate reduction of drive
tension without regard for external reality, and is
under the influence of the primary-process mental
activity that characterizes the unconscious. See
also Ego, Superego.
Idea: The memory of past perceptions. An idea depends
upon an image in the same way as a perception
depending upon a sensation.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences






Fig. 4. The development of new idea.

Ideal: An image or representation of oneself as one

would like to be. Derived from societal values and
significant others the ideal self is composed of
wished for (but possibly unattainable) modes of
behaviour, values, traits, aspects of personal
appearance etc. A disparity between ideal self
concept (i.e., image of oneself as one really) is taken
to be a sign of poor mental health and its reduction
a primary goal of psychotherapy ( See Riogers).
Idealization: A mental mechanism whereby a person
consciously or unconsciously overestimates an
admired attribute or aspect of another person.
Idea of reference: Misinterpretation of incidents and
events in the outside world as having a direct
personal reference are frequently seen in paranoid
patients. If present with sufficient frequency or
intensity or if organized and systematized, they
constitute delusions of reference. See also Delusion.
Ideation: The process concerned with the highest
function of awareness, the formation of ideas. It
includes thinking, intellect and memory.
Ideational shield: An intellectual, rational defense
against the anxiety that a person would feel if he
became vulnerable to the criticisms and rejection
of others. As a result of his fear of being rejected,
he may feel threatened if he criticizes another
person, an act that is unacceptable to him. In both
group and individual therapy, conditions are set
up that allow the participants to lower the ideational
Idea fixed: A fixed idea that is recurrent and most often
associated with obsession states.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Identification: A defence mechanism, operating unconsciously, by which person patterns himself after
some other person. Identification plays a major role
in the development of ones personality and specifically of the superego. To the differentiated from
imitation or role modeling, which is a conscious
Identification with the aggressor: An unconscious
process by which a person incorporates within
himself the mental image of a person who represents a source of frustration from the outside
world. A primitive defense, it operates in the interest
and service of the developing ego. The classic
example of this defense occurs towards the end of
the oedipal stage, when a boy, whose main source
of love and gratification is his mother, identifies
with his father. The father represents the source of
frustration, being the powerful rival for the mother,
the child cannot master or run away from his father,
so he is obliged to identify with him. See also
psychosexual development.
Identity: A persons global role in life and the perception
of his sense of self. Problems with identity are
common during adolescence, in schizophrenia, and
in the borderline and schizotypal personalities. See
also Gender identity, identity disorder, sexual
Identity crisis: A loss of the sense of the sameness
and historical continuity of ones self and inability
to accept or adopt the role one perceives as being
expected by society; often expressed by isolation,
withdrawal, extremism, rebelliousness, and negativity, and typically triggered by a combination of
sudden increase in the strength of instinctual
drives in a milieu of rapid social evolution and
technologic change. See also psychosocial development.
Identity disorder: In DSM-III a disorder characterized
by a chaotic sense of self; a loss of the sense of


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

personal sameness, usually involving a social role

conflict as perceived by the person himself. It is
common in adolescence, when the adolescent feels
unwilling or unable to accept or adopt the role he
believes is expected of him by society. It is often
manifested by isolation, withdrawal, rebelliousness,
negativity, and extremism.
Identity formation: The process of forming an identity.
The identifications made throughout development
plays an important role, and adolescents in particular will try out different kinds of identity and use
feedback from others to decide which to retain and
which to abandon.
Idealogy: Any false, categorically mistaken, ensemble
of ideas whose falsity is explicable, wholly or in
part, in terms of the social role or function they,
normally unwittingly, serve.
Idioctonia: Suicide.
Idiographic: Attempting to understand the functioning
of individuals, as opposed to the search for general
laws of behaviour. Idiographic approaches to
human personality examine characteristics which
are considered to be common to all individuals,
but which, in their operation, make each person
unique. So, for instance, personal construct theory
represents an ideographic approach; whereas the
psychometric approaches, which are concerned
with comparing people with one another, do not.
See also nomothetic.
Idiopathic: Without known cause.
Idiosyncratic: Special to that particular individual;
characteristic of that person but not of most people.
Idiot Savant: A mentally retarded person who is able to
perform unusual mental feats in sharply circumscribed intellectual area, such as complicated
calculations or puzzle solving.
Idiotropic: Egocentric; introspective.
I-It: Philosopher Martin Bubers description of damaging interpersonal relationships. If a person treats

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


himself or another person exclusively as an object,

he prevents mutuality, trust, and growth. When
pervasive in a group. I-It relationships prevent
human warmth, destroy cohesiveness, and retard
group; process. See also I-Thou.
Illinois test of psycholinguistic ability: Psychological
test assessing various aspects of language ability
in children 2 to 10 years of age.
Illogically: Pattern of speech or thinking in which
conclusions that are reached do not follow
logically. It may take the form of unwarranted or
faulty inferences.
Illogical thinking: Thinking that contains clear internal
contradictions or in which conclusions are reached
that are clearly erroneous, given the initial premises.
It may be seen in individuals without mental
disorder, particular in situations in which they are
distracted or fatigued. Illogical thinking was
psychopathological significance only when it is
marked, as in the examples noted below, and when
it is not due to cultural or religious values or to
intellectual deficit. Markedly illogical thinking may
lead to, or result from, a delusional belief or may be
observed in the absence of a delusion.
Illuminism: A state of hallucination in which the patient
carries on converzations with imaginary supernatural creatures.
Illusion: Perceptual misinterpretation of a real external

The Danzio

The Poggendorf The Muller-Lyer The Ponzo

Fig. 5. Some well-known visual illusions.

Image: A revived experience of a percept recalled from

Imago: A Jungian term referring to an idealized, unconscious mental image of a key person in someones
early life.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Imbecile: See Mental Retardation.

Imitation: The copying of a specific action or sequence
of behaviour. Imitation forms a learning process
which is very common amount all mammals, and
especially humans. It provides an extremely rapid
form of learning and mechanism of early socialization. See also identification.
Immediate memory: A term occasionally used instead
of short term memory.
Immunization: Hardening of a persons attitude on a
particular subject by giving him or her a mind
exposure to an opposing attitude; exposure makes
the originally held attitude resistant to change by
strong further arguments.
Impasse: see therapeutic impasse.
Impetus: In psychoanalytic psychiatry, the force or
energy behind a particular drive.
Implicit personality theory: The ideas about how
personality traits are grouped together often taken
for granted in everyday living. For example, traits
like ambitious may automatically be grouped with
aggressive and energetic; or kind could be grouped
with gentle and peaceable. This means that
individuals who are known to have one particular
characteristic are often reacted towards as if they
also possessed the full range of associated traits.
They are treated in accordance with the unspoken
and assumed theory of personality held by the
people whom they encounter. See also personal
construct theory.
Implosion: A behaviour therapy technique in which
anxiety arousing stimuli are vividly presented in
imagination; the patient repeatedly experiences
intense anxiety in the absence of objective danger
until the anxiety response is extinguished.
Implosion therapy: Otherwise known as flooding, this
refers to a technique in behaviour therapy in which
the phobic individual receives direct and extended
exposure to the feared stimulus, until they become
relaxed with it. For instance, some who has had a

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


car accident and become frightened of going out

may be repeatedly shown film of cars approaching
them. As they become used to this, the fear dies
away and, through classical conditioning, a more
relaxed attitude becomes associated with the
stimulus. See also systematic desensitization.
Imposter Phenomenon (IP): The phenomenon characterized by the feeling of discrepancy between a
persons public image as someone successful and
his private perception of himself as someone
unworthy. Even as his successes accumulate, the
victim of IP can not accept them as evidence of his
talents and abilities. To conceal his secret, an IP
victim may adopt a number of strategies, single or
combined. These can be classified into a workaholic, the magical thinker, the shrinking violet, the
charmer, the chameleon and the genie. Two American
Psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes,
from Gerogia state University coined the term.
Impotence: The inability to achieve or maintain a penile
erection of sufficient quality to engage in
successful sexual intercourse. Two types are
described by Masters and Johnson; in Primary
impotence, there has never been a successful sexual
coupling; in Secondary impotence, failure occurs
following at least one successful union. Compare
with orgasmic dysfunction.
Impression formation (or person formation): The
way in which we perceive or understand other

Fig. 6. Imprinting.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Imprinting: The process involving following of the

mother which occurs during a critical period shortly
after birth in some species, mostly notable in ducks
and geese. The following behviour can be elicited
by any moving object during the hours, perhaps
days, after birth, and the animal seems to have a
strong innate tendency to learn about and in some
way identify with the object. The learning is very
resistant to change, and later in life social and
sexual behaviour will be directed at animals or
objects which resemble the imprinted stimulus.
Attempts have been made to explain the bonding
of human infants to their mothers as a form of
imprinting but the two processes are quite different,
and it seems that the main thing they had in common
at the time the theory was proposed was that neither
could be satisfactorily explained.
Improvization: In psychodrama, the acting out of
situations without prior preparation.
Impulse: A psychic striving or urge to person an action.
See also Drive, Instinct.
Impulse control: Ability to resist an impulse, drive, or
temptation to perform some action.
Impulse control disorder: A mental disorder in which
there is weak impulse control. The impulsive
behaviour is usually irresistible, pleasurable, and
aimed at obtaining immediate gratification, without
regard for the consequences of the behaviour.
Examples of impulse; control disorder are pathological gambling, kleptomania, pyromania,
intermittent and isolated explosive disorders, the
substance use disorders, and the paraphilias.
Impulsion: The blind following of internal drives
without regard for social acceptance or pressure
from the superego. Impulsion is normally seen in
young children. In adults it is common in those
weak defensive organizations; in such cases it
tends to be a symbolic phenomenon.
Imu: A psycho reactive phenomenon seen among the
Ainu, consisting of hyperkinesias, catalepsy,

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


echolalia, echopraxia, and command automatism.

Imu occurs exclusively in adult females.
Inadequate personality disorder: Personality disorder
characterized by ineffective responses to physical,
social, and emotional demands; instability; poor
judgement; impaired coping ability; and generalized
ineptness, despite the absence of any actual
physical or mental deficit. This category has been
eliminated from DSM-III.
Incentive: An aspect of motivation that result from
expectation of reward or punishment (Hull, 1931).
Incentive theory: A theory of motivation that distinguishes between the expectation that a goal can be
achieved (incentive motivation) and the strength
of the need for the goal (drive motivation). The
amount of effort made to achieve a goal is a function
of both kinds of motivation. So high drive alone
may be ineffective if paired with low incentive: I
would very much like a million pounds but do not
expect success so I am not doing anything about
it. Equally, high incentive (I am sure I could get
spasm for dinner if I tried) will not generate goal
(or spasm) seeking if my drive is low because I do
not like the stuff. Practically, the theory indicates
that if an organism is not working for a goal it is
necessary to know whether to increase need (life
will be really wonderful if I can get A-level
psychology), or incentive (there is still enough time
to look up all the terms I do not understand).
Incest: sexual activity between close blood relatives.
Common patterns are father-daughter, mother-son
and between siblings. Incest may also be homosexually oriented.
Incidence: Research term meaning the number of cases
of a disease whose onset occurs during a specific
period of time. See also Prevalence.
Incoherence: Speech that, for the most part, is not
understandable, owing to any of the following: a
lack of logical or meaningful connection between


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

words, phrases, or sentences; excessive use of

incomplete sentences excessive irrelevancies or
abrupt changes in subject matter; idiosyncratic
word usage; distorted grammar. Mildly ungrammatical construction or idiomatic usages characteristic
of particular regional or ethnic backgrounds, lack
of education, or low intelligence should not be
considered incoherence; and the term is generally
not applied when there is evidence that the disturbance in speech is due to aphasia. Incoherence
may be seen in some Organic Mental Disorders,
Schizophrenia, and other psychotic disorders.
Incompetence: A legal term indicating that thought
processes are inadequate for sound judgement and
may lead to maladaptive of normal behaviour.
Legally, an incompetent person cannot be held
responsible for his actions.
Incongruences: In Rogers self theory, mismatches
between the self as perceived and the ideal self the
person would like to be.
Incorporation: A primitive unconscious defence mechanism in which the psychic representation of another
person are assimilated into oneself through a
figurative process of symbolic oral ingestion. It
represents a special form of introjection and is the
earliest mechanism of identification.
Independent variable: The variable that an experimenter
sets up to cause an effect in an experiment. An
independent variable may have two or more
conditions, and subjects responses to each of
them are studied. Independent variables may be
existing features of the subjects (males vs. females)
or be created by the experiment (dark vs. light
conditions). It is called Independent because it is
not affected by the experimental procedures. See
dependent variable.
Indexical expressions: A term used by philosophers
and social scientists in referring to expressions,
statements or utterances which can be understood
only with reference to the context in which they

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


can occur. The most obvious examples are such as

here, there, now, then etc.
Indigenous psychology: The study of man as he
conceives himself in terms of his collective representations. The term indigenous emphasizes
cultural views, theories, conjectures, assumptions
and metaphors; draws attention to what is generally
available to man in his attempts to make sense of
and organize his psychological life.
Individual psychology: System of psychiatric theory
developed by Alfred Adler, it stresses compensation and overcompensation for feelings of inferiority in a persons strivings to adapt to the social
milieu. It emphasizes the interpersonal nature of a
persons problems, and it is applied by some
practitioners to group psychotherapy and counseling.
Individual therapy: The traditional dyadic therapeutic
technique in which a psychotherapist treats one
patient during a given therapeutic session. Newer
techniques deal with more than one patient. See
also Family therapy, Group psychotherapy.
Individuation: Jungian term denoting a process
whereby the person molds and develops a healthy
integrated individual personality through maximum
differentiation and development of each system of
the personality. See also Actualization.
Induced psychosis: Mainly delusional psychosis,
usually chronic and often without florid features,
which appears to have developed as a result of a
close, if not dependent, relationship with another
person who already has an established similar
psychosis. The mental illness of the dominant
member is most commonly paranoid. The morbid
beliefs are induced in the other persons and given
up when the pair are separated. The delusions are
at least partly shared. Occasionally, several people
are affected. Synonyms: folie a deux; folie communique, folie impose; folie induite; induced paranoid
disorder; psychosis of association; symbiontische


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Induction: Making general laws from knowledge of

particular cases. Inductive reasoning is being used
when results from a sample are utilized to make
statements about a population, and is fundamental
to the operation of empirical psychology. Inductive
reasoning has also been studied as part of the
subject matter of cognitive psychology. It can be
contrasted with deduction.
Industrial psychology: The application of psychology
to industrial situations. Industrial psychologists
may study the effects of environmental influences
on people at work; of organizational influences,
such as the effects of different management
structures or styles; of social relationships within
an industrial setting; or of sources of stress and
industrial accidents.
Industrial therapy: Current organization of outside
industrial working conditions within a unit in a
psychiatric hospital. The main purpose is preparation of patients for their return to the working
Ineffability: An ecstatic state in which the person
insists that his experience is inexpressible and
indescribable, that it is impossible to convey
what is like to one who never experienced it.
Infancy: The childhood period of helplessness and
marked dependency; generally the first year of life.
Infantile autism: A syndrome beginning in infancy and
characterized by withdrawal and self-absorption,
failure to develop attachment to a parental figure,
ineffective communication and mutism, preoccupation with inanimate objects, and an obsessive
demand for sameness in the environment. It is also
known as Kanners syndrome. See also Autistic
Infantile dynamics: Psychodynamic integrations, such
as the Oedipus complex, that are organized during
childhood and continue to exert an unconscious
influence on adult personality.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Infantile sexuality: Freudian concept regarding the

erotic life of infants and children. Freud observed
that, from birth, infants are capable of erotic
activities. Infantile sexuality encompasses the
overlapping phases of psychosexual development
during the first 5 years of life and includes the oral
phase (birth to 18 months), when erotic activity
centers on the mouth; the anal phase (ages 1 to 3),
when erotic activity centers on the rectum; and
the phallic phase (ages 2 to 6), when erotic activity
centers on the genital region. See also psychosexual
Infant psychiatry: That aspects of child psychiatry
which deals with the diagnosis treatment, and
prevention of maladaptive psychological
functioning in infants.
Inferiority complex: Concept originated by Alfred Adler
that everyone is born with a feeling of inferiority
or inadequacy secondary to real or fantasied
organic or psychological deficits. How the inferiority or feeling of inferiority is handled determines
a persons behaviour in life. See also Masculine
Information-processing: An approach which analysis
cognitive process in terms of the manipulations of
information that are involved. As computers have
become capable of progressively more sophisticated operations, information processing has
become accepted as a plausible approach to
understanding perception decision making, etc.
The approach is more directly involved with
computers when they are used to run models of
particular cognitive process (called a simulation)
to see how the model would work in practice.
Information-processing theories of intelligence:
Theories holding that intelligence should be
measured in terms of such function as sensory
processing, coding strategies, memory, and other
mental capacities. See information-processing


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Information-processing theories of memory: Models

of memory which say that human beings process
information for storage in stages. See sensory
register, short-term memory (STM), long-term
memory (LTM), information processing theory.
Information theory: System dealing with the transmission, reception, and distortion of communicated
Informed consent: Permission to perform a medical or
research procedure which includes; (1) a rational
understanding of the nature of the proceedings;
(2) the foreseeable risks; (3) the expected benefits
(4) the consequences of withholding consent; (5)
available alternative procedures; and (6) that
consent is voluntary.
Infradian rhythm: See Biological rhythm.
Inhibition: The depression or arrest of a function. In
psychoanalysis, the conscious or unconscious
confining or restraining of an impulse or desire. It
often refers to the operation of the superego.
Initial insomnia: Falling asleep with difficulty. Usually
seen in anxiety disorder.
Innate: Literally, inborn. It means unlearned, or present
at birth, and is used synonymously with inherited
or genetic.
Innate releasing mechanism (IRM): A term used by
Tinbergen to refer to the stimulus which triggered
off an instinctive behaviour. Examples are the
moving shape which stimulates peeking in a young
herring-gull chick and that which provokes
freezing in turkey chicks. The behaviour released
by an IRM has direct survival value, either in
avoidance of predators or in obtaining food.
Currently the term sign stimulus is preferred to refer
to these signals, as it avoids the implicit assumption
about internal mechanisms contained within the
term IRM.
Inner-directed person: A person who is self motivated
and autonomous and is not easily guided or

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


influenced by the opinions and values of other

people. See also Other-directed person.
Insanity: Legal concept denoting a mental disturbance,
due to which a person lacks criminal responsibility
for an alleged crime and hence cannot be convicted
of the crime. See also. Competency to stand trial,
criminal responsibility. Durham rule, MNaughten
Insanity defence: A legal concept that a person cannot
be convicted of a crime if he lacked criminal
responsibility by reason of insanity, which term is
defined as a matter of law. The promise is that where
an alleged criminal lacks the mens rea because of
insanity, such a person lacks criminal responsibility and cannot be convicted. Standards which
the courts in Anglo-American law have established
to define insanity have changed over the last
century and continue to change.
Insecurity: Feelings of helplessness, unprotectedness,
and inadequacy in the face of manifold anxieties
arising from uncertainty regarding ones goals,
ideals, abilities, and relations to others.
Insight: Conscious recognition of ones own conditions. In psychiatry, it more specifically refers to
the conscious awareness and understanding of
ones own psychodynamics and symptoms of
maladaptive behaviour. It is highly important in
effecting changes in the personality and behaviour
of a person, Intellectual insight refers to knowledge
of the reality of a situation without the ability to
successfully use the knowledge to effect an
adaptive change in behaviour. Emotional insight
refers to a deeper level of understanding or awareness that is more likely to lead to positive change
in personality and behaviour.
Insomnia: Difficulty in falling asleep or difficulty in
staying asleep. See also Initial insomnia, Middle
insomnia, terminal insomnia.
Insomnia of nonorganic origin: Disorders of initiating
or maintaining sleep, not associated with somatic


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

disorders or dysfunctions and most commonly

attributable to anxiety, tension, affective psychoses
or adverse environmental factors.
Instinct: A basic, inborn urge or drive. Freud postulated
the existence of two opposing primal instincts; a
life instinct (eros) and a death instinct (Thanatow).
An extensive array of human instincts has been
proposed, including possessive instinct, mastery
instinct, and herd or social instinct. Because of its
implications of a fixed, essentially unalterable,
largely hereditary response or psychic tendency
that does not involve learning or reason, the term
has become ambiguous and controversial when
applied to human behaviour. It is exceedingly
difficult if not impossible, to demonstrate convincingly that any given human activity is, in fact,
instinctual. Many modern psychoanalysts prefer
the term drive for what Freud termed Instinct.
See also Drive.
Instinctive behaviour: Behaviour which occurs as a
result of the direct action of genes. Such behaviour
typically shows certain distinctive characteristics.
These are stereotype (the behaviour, being fixed
and not modifiable by the individual); there is a
complex sequence of behaviour, not just a reflex
response; it arises in individuals reared apart from
their own species; it does not require prior learning
or practice; it is species-specific. Such behaviour,
would appear to be relatively common in fish and
birds, but rather less so among the higher animals.
Institutionalization: The effect on a person of living
for a long time in an institution. Institutions like
mental hospitals are likely to develop procedures
which are very different from those in the outside
world. As the inmate adapts to the regime they
may develop patterns of motivation and behaviour
which would prevent them from functioning
successfully in the outside world. Ironically, the
phenomenon operates most clearly in just those
institutions, like mental hospitals and prisons, that

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


are supposed to improve the clients ability to

function within society. It has been suggested that
the reason that staff in institutions fail to take the
process of institutionalization into account is that
they themselves are subject to it.
Instrumental aggression: Aggression which occurs
because it will result, directly or indirectly, in a
desired outcome for the individual showing the
Instrumental conditioning: See conditioning.
Instrumental learning: Learning which occurs as a
direct result of the beneficial or pleasant consequences which it has for that individual. Often used
synonymously with operant conditioning.
Insulin coma therapy (ICT): A form of shock treatment
in which large amounts of insulin are given to a
psychotic, usually a schizophrenic, producing
profound hypoglycemia and resulting in a coma.
Introduced by Manfred Sakel in 1933, it declined
in use drastically after the introduction of
antipsychotic drugs.
Intake: The initial interview between a patient and
member of a psychiatric team. The term is usually
used in connection with admission to a mental
health facility.
Integration: The useful organization and incorporation
of both new and old data, experience, and emotional
capacities into the personality. Also refers to the
organization and amalgamation of functions at
various levels of psychosexual development.
Intellectualization: An unconscious defense mechanism in which reasoning or logic is used in an
attempt to avoid confrontation with an objectionable impulse and thus defend against anxiety. It is
also known as brooding compulsion and thinking
Intellectual sub average functioning: An I.Q. more than
two standard deviations below the test mean
obtained on an intelligence test.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Intelligence B






Intelligence: The capacity for learning and the ability

to recall, integrate constructively, and apply what
one has learned; the capacity to understand and
to think rationally.


Fig. 7. A possible model of intelligence A, B and C.

Intelligence A, B, C: Classifications developed by Hebb

and Vermon in an attempt to express the relatie
contributions of experience and inheritance to an
individuals intelligence. The term intelligence A
was used to describe the total potential intelligence
of an individual, given that particular genotype
and an ideal environment from conception.
Intelligence B was conceived as an unknown
proportion of intelligence A, which was that amount
of their potential which the individual had been
able to realize throughout their life. Intelligence C
referred to the unknown proportion of intelligence
B which would be measured using an intelligence
test. In formulating this model, Hebb was applying
the genetic distinction between genotype and
phenotype and arguing that, to talk of the relative
contributions of genetic and environment as if they
were alternatives or could be quantified, was
inherently misleading.
Intelligence quotient (I.Q.): A numerical measure of
mental capability determined by dividing a mental
age (M.A.) score achieved on a specific test, such
as the Stanford-Binet Test, by the patients
chronological age (C.A.) and multiplying by 100.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Intelligence test: A standardized set of task from which

intelligence can be estimated. All tests should have
been fully assessed for reliability and validity, but
a great variety is now available, to some extent
reflecting problems that have been identified during
the history of mental testing. Of the most widely
used tests, the Stanford Binet is a direct descendant
of the original test devised by Binet to give a single
measure of IQ. The Wechsler provides 12 subscales measuring different aspects of intelligence.
Ravens Progressive Matrices attempts to eliminate
cultural bias by having items and even administration which do not depend on using language.
The recently developed British Ability Scale is an
attempt to incorporate later psychological work on
intelligent performance such as Piagets ideas.
Interaction: A situation in which one thing reciprocally
affects another, such that an exchange takes place.
The term is used particularly in reference to social
Interactionism: The interactionist perspective within
physiological psychology is a direct contrast to
the traditional reductionist approaches. Rather
than seeing physiology as the direct cause of
behaviour, an interactionist perspective emphasizes
the ways in which environment, cognition and
physiology may all have a reciprocal effect on one
another, such that each may influence the other in
achieving a given effect. Within this approach,
physiological variables which are usually regarded
causes may equally well be seen as results.
Interego: Stekels proposed substitute for the Freudian
term superego.
Interference: The concept in memory theory that
information may become lost or distorted because
of the storage of additional information. The
interference theory of forgetting was a popular
approach in memory research throughout the 1950s
and 1960s; and it centered round the idea that
memories could become displaced because of the


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

storage of similar information. Interference was

considered to be of two kinds; proactive interference, in which material which had been learned
first interfered with the acquisition of later
information and retroactive interference, in which
information which had been acquired at a later stage
interfered with the retrieval of previously learned
Intermission: In psychiatry, the interval between
attacks of a particular syndrome. When it is not
certain that the symptoms will return, the interval
is called a remission. See also Remission.
Intermittent reinforcement: Any schedule of reinforcement in which the response is not always reinforced.
Internationalization: Making something part of oneself.
Freud was concerned with the child internalizing
the moral values of its parents, as expressed in
their system of rewards and punishments. The term
is now used more broadly, particularly in areas like
conformity studies, where its use distinguishes
subjects who have fully adopted and internalized
the values from those who express them for
Internal-external scale: A scale originally devised by
Rotter in the 1950s to measure whether a person
believes the causes of events to originate within
themselves (emotions abilities effort) or without
(powerful other people, luck). See locus of control
for one use of such a scale, and attribution theory
for another.
Internal validity: The extent to which an individual item
in a test measures the same thing as the other items.
See validity.
International classification of diseases (ICD): The
World Health Organizations official list of disease
categories subscribed to by all WHO member
nations, who may, however, assign their own terms
to each category.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Interpersonal attraction: The degree to which people

are drawn towards each other; influenced by
proximity, attitude similarity, physical attractiveness.
Interpersonal conflict: See Extrapsychic conflict.
Interpersonal psychiatry: Dynamic-cultural system of
psychiatry based on Harry Stack Sullivans
interpersonal theory, which proposes that each
person must be viewed as an entity interacting
with the sociocultural and interpersonal environment. Since the emphasis is on interactive experiences, group psychotherapy conducted by practitioners of this school focuses on the patients
interactive transactions with one another.
Interpersonal skill: Effectiveness of adaptive behaviour in relation to other persons; ability to express
feeling appropriately, to be socially responsible and
responsive and to work in harmony with others.
Interposition: A monocular cue for depth; near objects
block portions of faraway objects.
Interpretation: The process of elucidating and expounding the meaning of something obstruse, obscure
etc. (i) Content interpretationsrefers to unconscious impulses and phantasies without reference
to the defensive processes which have been
keeping them unconscious. (ii) correct interpretations are those which both (a) explain adequately the material being interpreted and (b) are
formulated in such a way and communicated at
such a time that they have actually , for the patient
(iii) Direct interpretations are based solely on the
analysts knowledge of symbolism without
reference to the patients associations (iv) Dream
interpretationsthe activity of discovering the
latent content of meaning of a dream by analysis
of its manifest content (v) Mutative interpretations
which alter the patient (vi) Premature interpretationsare true interpretations communicated to
the patient before they can make sense to him
(vii) Transference interpretationsrelate the patients


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

behaviour and associations to his relationship to

the analyst.
Interpretation of dreams: The title of a book by Freud.
Published in 1899 this work a major presentation
not only of Freuds theories about the meaning of
dreamssubject hitherto regarded as outside
scientific interestbut also of his concept of a
mental apparatus that is topographically divided
into unconscious, preconscious, and conscious
Interpropositional logic: The capacity to a judge
whether or statements (propositions) are logically
connected to one another regardless, whether the
statements are true; develops in formal operational
Interval psychosis: Postoperative delirium, the major
psychiatric complication observed in surgical
intensive care units.
Intervening variable: Something intervening between
an antecedent circumstance and its consequence,
modifying the relation between the two. For
example, appetite can be intervening variable
determining whether or not a given food will be
eaten. The intervening variable may be inferred
rather than empirically detected.
Interview: A converzation between a professional and
a subject designed to provide the professional with
a certain kind of information. The nature of the
interview will be influenced by its function which
may be evaluation of the subject (for a job), therapeutic, or research. The form of the interview may
be fully specified in advance (structured interview),
be planned in more or less detail, or be conducted
without any prior consideration of what information
is wanted and how it is to be obtained. Research
has shown interviews to be an inaccurate method
of selecting, but this may be because the interviews
studied had not been carefully constructed.
Intrapersonal conflict: See Intrapsychic conflict.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Intrapsychic ataxia: See Ataxia.

Intrapsychic conflict: State of tension arising from the
clash of two or more incompatible or opposing
forcesfor example, wishes, needs, motives,
thoughtsoperating within oneself. It is also known
as intrapersonal conflict. See also Extrapsychic
Introjection: The unconscious, symbolic internationalization of a psychic representation of a hated or
loved external object with the goal of establishing
closeness to and constant presence of the object,
anxiety consequent to separation or tension aring
out of ambivalence toward the object is diminished; in the case of a feared hated object, internationalization of its malicious or aggressive
characteristics serves to avoid anxiety by symbolically putting those characteristics under ones
Intropunitive: Turning anger inward toward oneself. It
is commonly observed in depressed patients.
Introspection: The process of self examination, or
looking within ones experience in order to gain
insight into psychological phenomena. Although
notoriously unreliable in many respects, introspection can at times provide valuable insights
which could at other times be missed.
Introspectionism: A school of thought, prevalent in
the early years of psychology as an independent
discipline from philosophy, in which investigations
were conducted though systematic, and often
detailed, introspection by one or two highly trained
psychologists. Although often castigated as
armchair psychology by the early behaviourists,
this technique established some important theoretical perspectives, such as those outlined in
Jamess principles of psychology; which in many
cases are still of use to modern psychology. With
the advent of behaviourism in the first part of the
twentieth century, introspectionism as a technique


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

became disregarded; but of recent years it has reemerged to a limited extent within the phenomenological school of modern psychologists.
Introversion: A preoccupation with ones self, accompanied by lack of interest in the outside world. See
also Extroversion.
Introvert: An individual inclined towards a solitary,
reflective life-style. Introversion is a personality
dimension regarded as the opposite of extraversion.
It was proposed by Carl Jung and incorporated
into the Eysenck Personality Inventory. Eysenck
sees introversion as rising from a higher level of
cortical arousal resulting in a lower level of inhibition to the same stimulus. Introverted individuals,
he argues, do not get bored as easily as extraverts,
and so are better at tasks requiring sustained or
which involve relatively little change in stimulation.
Introverted personality disorder: See schizoid personality disorder.
Intuitive substage: In Piagets theory of cognitive
development. The second of two substages of the
preoperational stage, from roughly 4 to 7 years of
age; it is characterized by unsystematic reasoning
based on perceptual appearances. Compare
preconceptual substage.
Inversion: Term for homosexuality used by Freud, who
distinguished three types; absolute, amphigenous,
and occasional. See also Homosexuality, Latent
homosexuality, overt homosexuality.
Involutional melancholia: Depression occurring in the
middle age in persons, who generally have no
history of previous mental illness. Characteristic
manifestations include delusions of sin, guilt, or
poverty; an obsession with death pre-occupational
with somatic particularly gastrointestinal function;
despair, dejection, agitation, anxiety, and insomnial
and in some cases, paranoid ideation. It is also
known as involutional psychosis. The term
involutional melancholia is not used in DSM III

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


but is replaced by the diagnosis major depression,

single episode, with melancholia or with mood
congruent psychotic features.
Involutional paranoid state: A DSMII term characterized by delusional formation in the involutional
period. In DSMIII this is subsumed under a typical
paranoid disorder or paranoia.
Ipsative: Assessed or measured by comparison with
the self. Ipsative scales involve the individual
using his or her own values or behaviour as the
yardstick by which comparisons and evaluations
are made.
Irresistible impulse test: The rule that a person is not
responsible for a crime if he acts through an
irresistible impulse which he was unable to control
because of a mental disease. Still accepted in some
states, but rejected by most. Introduced in 1922 in
Irrumation: Fellatio.
Isakower phenomenon: Hypnagogic experience first
described by Isakower (1938) in which the subject
imagines soft, doughy masses to be moving
towards his face. Isakower interpreted this
phenomenon as a revival of the infants experience
of being at the breast.
Isolated explosive disorder: See explosive disorder,
Isolation: In psychoanalysis, a defense mechanism
involving the separation of an idea or memory from
its attached feeling tone. Unacceptable ideational
content is thereby rendered free of its disturbing
on unpleasant emotional charge. See also Alienation, Relatedness.
Isonome: A signal or pathway in the brain that has similar
effects on several different agencies.
Isophilic: Term used by Sullivan to mean liking or feeling
affectionate towards people of the same sex, without the sexual or erotic aspects of homosexuality.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

I-Thou: Philosopher Martin Bubers conception that a

persons identity develops from the true sharing
by persons. Basic trust can occur in a living
partnership in which each member identifies the
particular real personality of the other in his wholeness, unity, and uniqueness. In groups, I-Thou
relationships promote warmth cohesiveness, and
constructive group process. See also I-It.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Jamais Vu: False feeling of unfamiliarity with a real
situation that one has experienced; it is a paramnestic phenomenon. See also Paramnesia.
James-Lange theory: An early theory of emotion which
argued that the experience of emotion arose from
the perception of physiological changes in the
body, brought about by the emotional stimulus. In
other words: the physiological changes occurred
first, and the emotion was simply the perception of
those changes. See also alarm reaction; CannonBard theory.
Janet Pierre (18591947): The last great representative of the French school of psychiatry; known for
his concept of psychological automatism and for
his interest in cases of multiple personalities. He
was the first to use the term la beel indifference.
See also Psychasthenia.
Japanese illusion test: This is to test analgesia of
organic and functional in origin. Patient is asked
to cross both hands palm-to-palm, interlock fingers
and invert. Patient with organic illness shown
consistent responses to testing of anaesthetic
Jealousy: Differs from envy in that in involves three
parties; the subject, an object whom the subject
loves and a third party who arouses anxiety in the
subject about his security of tenure of the second
partys affections, subject and an object whose
good fortune or possessions the subject envies.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Jealousy is related to possessiveness of the other;

envy to comparison of the self with the other.
Jet lag: A syndrome in which the individuals circadian
rhythms becomes out of phase with the surrounding environment, as a result of the rapid crossing
of time zones during long distance travel. This
produces feelings of extreme fatigue, and in some
cases disorientation, sometimes lasting for several
days until the individual adjusts fully to a new
time system.
Jhin Jhinia: A culture-specific syndrome that is said
to occur in epidemic form in India, consisting of
bizarre and seemingly involuntary contractions and
Jones, Ernest (18791958): Welsh psychoanalyst and
one of Freuds early followers. He was an organizer
of the American Psychoanalytic Association in 1911
and of the British Psychoanalytical society in 1919
and a founder and long-time editor of the Journal
of International Psychoanalytical Association. A
profile author, he is most noted for his three volume
biography of Freud. See also Rationalization.
Judgement: Mental act of comparing or evaluating
choices within the framework of a given set of
values for the purpose of electing a course of
action. If the course of action chosen is consonant
with reality or with mature adult standards of
behaviour, judgement is said to be intact or normal;
judgement is said to be impaired if the chosen
course of action is frankly maladaptive, results from
impulsive decision based on the need for immediate
gratification, or is otherwise not consistent with
reality as measured by mature adult standards.
Jung, Carl Gustav (18751961): Swiss psychiatrist
and psychoanalyst originally associated with
Freud. Jung later founded the school of analytic
psychology. See also Affect-fantasy, Analytic
psychology, Anima, Imago, Collective unconscious, individuation, Persona.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Jungian: Pertaining to the psychoanalytic system

developed by Carl Jung sometimes also referred to
as analytical psychology.
Juramentado: A culture specific syndrome described
in the Malays and Moros consisting of marked
agitation and assault or stabbing of anyone, they
encounter, followed by a stupor and, upon awakening, amnesia for the episode.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Kanners syndrome: See infantile autism.
Kelly George, A. (19051966): A Physicist mathematician, sociologist, educationist and eventually
clinical psychologist, influenced psychology with
his major work. The psychology of personal
constructs. Kelly emphasized that Personality is
equivalent to Psychology and not just one part
of it.
Key word method: A mnemonic technique for learning
the meanings of technical or foreign terms, which
involves identifying a key familiar word derived
from the sound of the unknown one. By forming a
visual image linking this key word with the meaning
of the word to be learned, the information is
acquired; the visual image forming a link between
the perceived sound of the new word and its
Kibbutz: An Israeli community in which property and
responsibility are held in common by all members
of the kibbutz (kibbutzniks). Many kibbutzim have
communal child rearing systems, which were
intensively studied in the 1960s. The then current
theoretical ideas on mother-infant bonding implied
that children would become psychologically
damaged if not kept with their mother, Little
evidence of this was found among the communally-reared children of the kibbutzim.
Kin selection: A concept put forward in sociobiology,
kin selection involves the idea that an individual

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


may protect their genes for the future by protecting

not just their offspring, but other relatives who
share them. Since siblings share on average 50%
of their genes, the individual can ensure that a
proportion of the genes survive by protecting his
or her siblings. The concept is used to explain
behaviour which is apparent altruistic, such as the
self-sacrificing behaviour of workers ants.
Kinesics: The study of body posture movement and
facial expressions.
Kinesiology: The study of body movement, especially
in the context of its communicative function.
Kinesthetic sense: The sense by which muscular
motion, tension, position and posture are perceived, proprioception.
Kirkbride, Thomas, S. (18091883): American psychiatrist, one of the 13 original founders of the American
Psychiatric Association. He is noted for his 1854
manual advocating reform in the design of
institutions for the mentally ill.
Klazomania: Compulsory shouting, usually a motor
discharge phenomenon based on mesencephalic
or other central nervous system irritation.
Klebedenken: Adhesive, sticky, preservative, thinking
seen in schizophrenia.
Klebenbleiben: A type of language disturbance
occurring in schizophrenia in which the speaker
repeats the topic on different words, elaborates
it, qualifies it, explains it, but cannot leave it.
Klein, Melanie (18821969): British pioneer in the
psychoanalysis of children. Noted for her work on
early childhood development, particularly infantile
aggression and the origins of the superego in the
early infancy.
Kleine-Levin syndrome: Periodic episodes of hypersomnia; first appears in adolescence, usually in
boys and is accompanied by bulimia.
Kleptomania: An outmoded term for a morbid, often
sudden and usually irresistible impulse to steal


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

without an apparent need. The impulse tends to

recur. The objects are mostly of little or no value
but may carry symbolic significance. It has been
described to occur more frequently in women and
to be associated with depression, neurotic illness,
personality disorder or mental retardation.
Synonym: shop lifting (pathological).
Koro: An acute delusional syndrome seen in Malaya
and South China in which the patient suddenly
becomes actually anxious that his penis is shrinking and may disappear into his abdomen, in which
case he will die.
Korsakoffs psychosis: An organic mental disorder seen
in long-term alcoholics. Its major characteristic
feature is a profound memory impairment,
particularly for recent events, for which the patient
attempts to compensate by confabulation. The
official DSM-III term is alcohol amnestic disorder.
See also Wernickes encephalopathy.
Kraepelin, Emil (18651926): German psychiatrist
noted for his pioneering work in psychiatric
nosology and classification systems. He differentiated between manic depressive psychoses and
dementia precox (schizophrenia). One of the last
representatives of the predynamic school of
psychiatry, he is often considered the father of
descriptive psychiatry. See also Descriptive
Krafft_Ebing, Richard Von (18401903): Neuropsychiatrist and student of sexual pathology,
remembered for his now classic psychopathia
sexualis, a pioneering study of sexual aberrations,
published in 1886.
Kretschmer, Ernest (18881964): German psychiatrist
noted for his theories of the relation of physique
to character and personality. See also constitutional types.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


La belle indifference: An inappropriate attitude of calm
or lack of concern about ones disability. It is seen
in patients with conversion disorder. See also Hysterical neurosis Literally beautiful indifference.
Labelling: When a label is applied to someone there is
tendency for that person to be seen, both by others
and often by themselves as having all of the
characteristics implied by the label, and being
nothing more than that. So labeling someone as
schizophrenic or depressive can cause them to be
treated as less than a whole person, since all of
other behaviour is likely to be interpreted in terms
of the illness, as schizophrenic or depressed
behaviour. This can be resisted by instating on
referring to a person with depression rather than
a depressive. But the tendency remains difficult
to avoid. The study of labelling and its implications
is an important part of social psychology, and has
been so ever since the discovery of the selffulfilling prophecy.
Labeling theory: A perspective on deviance which
tends to see the deviant as a victim of a society
which categorizes him as criminal or mad in an
arbitrary or despotic way.
Labile: Unstable; characterized by rapidly changing
Labile affect: See Affect Labile.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Laconic speech: Condition characterized by a reduction

in the quantity of spontaneous speech. Replies to
questions are brief and unelaborated, and little or
no unprompted additional information is provided.
It is also called poverty of speech. Occurs in major
depression, schizophrenia and organic mental
Lacunar amnesia: See Amnesia, localized.
Laissez-faire: Leaving people to get on with thing in
their own way. It is used to indicate a style of
leadership in which most of the responsibility for
action is left with the group, rather than assumed
by the leader. Groups with laissez-faire leadership
tend not to be as productive as others, but some
findings suggest that they continue to operate
better than other groups when the leader is absent.
Language: The complex system of communication
which involves the organization of word into
meaningful combinations. Although most people
would agree that the use of language is a distinctively human attribute, the lack of a precise definition of what exactly language is, makes it difficult
to decide whether such phenomena as bird songs,
bee dances, or whatever can be taught to chimpanzees in this line, should be called language. It is
generally accepted, however, that language
involves symbolic representation, and that there
are distinct rules concerning acceptable combinations of the elements of language (usually word)
which do not permit all possible combinations to
be regarded as meaningful. Language can be
studied on a number of levels, which may be
broadly classified as lexical (concerning the word
units themselves and their referents); syntactic
(concerning the rules for combining words into
meaningful utterances); and sematic concerning
the meaning of what is said. The use of analogy
and metaphor in language means that the lexical

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


characteristics of an utterance may not be identical

with its semantic characteristics (e.g., describing
someone as burning with enthusiasm). Psychologists have also studied social aspects of language
use; such as the impact of accents or sexiest
language, and recently much research attention
has been devoted to discourse analysis; looking
at the way that language is used in complete

Angular gyrus
Brocas area
Wernickes area

Fig. 8. Language areas of the cerebral cortex.

Language acquisition device: A mechanism proposed

by Chomsky to explain the extreme rapidity with
which young children develop speech. He proposed that the young infant is born with an innate
language acquisition device, which enables it to
extract basic rules of grammar from the speech heard
around them. Moreover, this occurs as a more or
less automatic process; all that is required is that
the child hears or experiences language used by
others. In view of an increasing body of research
indicating that human interaction forms a
fundamental part of speech acquisition, later
theorists have modified this concept, preferring
instead to talk of a language acquisition system,
or LAS; which allows for rather more active
involvement on the part of the child than simply
passive decoding.
Language areas: Specific parts of the cerebral cortex,
usually (though not always) located on the left
hemisphere, and mediating the functions of


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

language. There are three main language areas;

Brocas area, which is largely responsible for
speech production and the formulation of appropriate words, Wernickes area, which is concerned
with the comprehension of speech, and the angular
gyrus, which receives information concerned with
the written word from the visual cortex and
converts it into sound-equivalent representations
for decoding in Wernickes area.
Language disorder: Disturbance of speech or writing
characterized by failure to follow semantic and
syntactic rules. Examples include incoherence,
clang association, word approximation and
neologism. See also Communication disorder.
Lapsus calmi: A slip of the pen.
Lapsus linguae: A slip of the tongue.
Latah: A culture-specific disorder found among the
Malaysian people and characterized by either a
sudden onset of unusual and inappropriate motor
and verbal manifestations or by an echo reaction,
in which the victim is compelled to imitate any
words or actions to which he is exposed. In both
forms the affected person cannot control or inhibit
his behaviour.
Latency phase: Period of psychosexual development
after the phallic phase and succeeded by the
genetal phase, extending from about age 5 to the
beginning of adolescence. During the latency
phase there is an apparent ceszation of sexual
preoccupation and a blockade of libidinal inpluses,
and boys and girls are inclined to choose friends
and join groups of their own sex. See also Anal
phase, Genital phase. Infantile sexuality, Oral phase,
phallic phase, psychosexual development.
Latency content: The hidden (unconscious) meaning
of thoughts or actions, especially in dreams or
fantasies. In dreams, it is expressed in distorted,
disguised, condensed, and symbolic form.
Latent homosexuality: Unexpressed conscious or unconscious homoerotic wishes that are held in

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


check. Freuds theory of bisexuality postulated

the existence of a constitutionally determined,
although experientially influenced, instinctual
masculine-feminine duality. Normally, the oppositesex component is dormant, but a breakdown in the
defenses of repression and sublimation may
activate latent instincts and result in overt homoeroticism. Many writers have questioned the
validity of theory of a universal latent homoeroticism. See also bisexuality, Homo-sexuality,
Overt homosexuality.
Latent learning: A system of learning first demonstrated in 1932 by Tolman, who presented clear
empirical evidence that even laboratory rats could
form internal, cognitive representations of a
complex maze; and that learning need not necessarily show immediately in behaviour but might
remain latent until it was advantageous to use it.
Latent learning was important as a concept because
it provided a counter to the behaviourist argument
that learning and changes in behaviour were
Latent schizophrenia: Condition characterized by clear
schizophrenic symptoms without a history of prior
overly psychotic schizophrenic episodes. In DSMIII the condition was subsumed under the category
of schizotypal personality disorder.
Laterality: Specialization of function on one side. Used
both of handedness and of the specialization of
function in either the left or right hemisphere of
the brain.
Lateral thinking: Thinking which involves a sideways
leap from conventional attempts to solve a
problem, and which reaches a solution by adopting
novel tactics or by reformulating the problem in an
unusual manner. Lateral thinking has been
promoted since the 1960 by de Bono, and involved
a search for originality and flexibility in mental
operations which would counteract sterile and
hidebound problem-solving practices, both in


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

management and in day to day problem-solving.

Divergent thinking has a similar meaning. See also
Law of effect: The principle developed by Thorndike,
that a response which was followed by a pleasant
consequence would be more likely to be repeated.
This idea was developed and amplified by B.F.
Skinner, in his work on operant conditioning.
Law of effort: A principle developed as a result of
investigations into imprinting in ducklings, in which
it was observed that the more effort a duckling had
to put into following its imprinted parent around,
the stronger the attachment bond would become.
Law of exercise: The principle developed by J.B.
Watson, on association learning, which stated that
a learned connection between a stimulus and a
response would be established by the repetition
of their association. In other words, if they occurred
together often enough, they would become associated together, and the learning would have
occurred. This concept was later developed more
fully by Pavlov in his research on classical conditioning.
Law of mass action: A principle formulated by Lashley
as a result of investigations into the role of the
association cortex in learning. He found that much
of the cerebral cortex appeared to have nonlocalized functioning, but instead seemed to
function as a mass; the more there was of it, the
more effective the learning; or alternatively the
greater the amount destroyed, the greater the
learning impediment. See also equipotentiality.
Law of Pragnanz: The principle by which meaningfulness or organization of visual stimuli occurred,
according to the Gestalt psychologists. The law of
Pragnanz is concerned with the ways that perceptual organization occurred through the subsidiary
principles of proximity, similarity, closure and good
gestalt, such that meaningful figures against
backgrounds are seen, rather.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Laxative habit: Reliance on, and abuse of purgatives

as a means of controlling weight, often occurring
in association with binge eating in bulimia.
Leadership role: Stance adopted by the therapist in
conducting group therapy. There are three main
leadership roles: authoritarian, democratic, and
laissez-faire. Any group-social, therapeutic, training, or task oriented- is strongly influenced by the
role practiced by the leader.
Learned autonomic control: The learned regulation by
a person of physiological responses that are under
autonomic nervous system control. Experimental
psychologist Neal E. Miller, using biofeedback
training techniques demonstrated that such
visceral response are subject to learning.
Learned helplessness: A concept demonstrated experimentally by Martin Seligman. He showed that
animals which had received unpleasant experiences
about which they could do nothing, were less ready
to undertake action when in a similar situation
where a relatively simple response would avert an
unpleasant experience. Instead, the animals would
remain passive, and do little to help themselves,
not even struggling. Seligman drew parallels
between the behaviours shown by animals in this
condition and the behaviours associated with
depression in humans. From these parallels he
developed helplessness theory, which proposes
that (some) depression may result from a belief of
having no control over bad events. Subsequently
the theory was revised by Seligman and others in
terms of attribution theory.
Learning: A relatively permanent change in knowledge
behaviour or understanding that results from
experience. Innate behaviours, maturation and
fatigue are excluded. Learning has been claimed as
the core phenomenon of psychology though in
practice, the field often seems to have operated by
producing a theory and then defining learning as
being whatever that theory explains. Specialist


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

areas include modeling and imitation, motor skills,

insight, formation of schemata creativity,
habituation and conditioning. The learning of
specific skills such as language have become areas
of study in their own right.
Learning curve: The graph that is obtained when a
measure of competence is plotted against the
number of leaning trials the animal or person has
had. The learning curve has a characteristic shape
but this is usually achieved rather artificially by
averaging together a large number of learning
curves while the individual curves may be much
less regular.
Learning disability: A syndrome affecting school age
children of normal or above normal intelligence
characterized by specific difficulties in learning to
read (dyslexia), write (dysgraphia), and calculate
(dyscalculia). The disorder is believed to be related
to slow developmental progression of perceptual
motor skills. See also minimal brain dysfunction.
Learning set: A generalized style of learning, or state
of preparedness to solve problems in certain ways,
which has been acquired through experience with
similar types of problems. Possession of a learning
set means that the individual is likely to look for
that kind of solution in preference to any alternative
strategy. Where problems are similar, learning sets
may be advantageous, but, may prove a hindrance
to the individual faced with a problem which
requires a novel approach.
Learning theory: An approach to the understanding
of human behaviour that emphasizes the way in
which learning comes about. According to learning
theory, learning itself represents a change in
behaviour resulting from practice. Through the
application of certain laws of learning, that theory
of behaviour attempts to explain the basic process
that are necessary for learning to occur.
Lesbianism: Female homosexuality. About 600 B.C. on
the island of Lesbos in the Aegean Sea, the poetess

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Sappho encouraged young women to engage in

sexual activities with one another. Lesbianism is
also known as Sapphism. See also Bisexuality,
Homosexuality, Latent homosexuality. Overt
Lethologica: Temporary inability to remember a proper
noun or name.
Levels of processing: A theory of memory put forward
by Craik and Lockhart, which argues that
information may be processed at a number of levels,
depending on how it is organized, linked with other
memories, tied in with emotional experience, and
so on. Information which has been only
superficially processed or accepted passively will
be readily forgotten, and this is used to explain the
phenomena of rapid forgetting previously
characterized as short-term memory. Information
which has been processed more deeply will be
retained for a longer period of time.
Lewin, Kurt (18901947): German psychologist who
emigrated to the United States in 1933. Two of his
chief theoretical contributions are the field
approach (field theory) and group dynamics, each
of which has been useful in the experimental study
of human behaviour in a social situation. See also
Field theory.
Libido: A term originally used by Freud to refer to sexual
energy which is derived from the id and is available
to power mental and physical activity LaterFreud
regarded libido as a general life energy. In common
usage, the connotation of sexual energy is still
associated with the term.
Lie detector: A popular name for a device measuring
bodily indications of the arousal presumed to
accompany lying; also known as a polygraph.
Life-event: An event result in a major change in the life
situation of a person. There is evidence that all life
events, even those that are fundamentally positive,
impose a stress. Holmes and Rahe have produced


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

a Life Events Scale which gives weightings to

different events, ranging; from 100 for death of a
spouse down to 12 for Christmas and 11 for minor
violations of the law. The scale can be used to
provide a total score for all of the life events
experienced during, say, the last year. People
experiencing a slot of change will obtain a high
score, and high scores may indicate that a person
is at higher risk of illness or accidents. Negative
life events may also some people more prone to
Life instinct: All the constructive tendencies of the
organism that aim at the maintenance and perpetuation of the individual and species. Freud
introduced the dual-instinct theory, which postulates the existence of two opposing instincts; the
life instinct (eros, sexual drive) and the death
instinct (Thanatos, aggressive drive). See also
Aggressive drive, Death instinct. Sexual drive.
Life lie: A contrary-to-fact conviction around which a
person structures his life philosophy and attitudes.
Lifwynn Foundation: An organization established by
Trigant Burrowin 1972 as a social community in
which the participants examined their interactions
in the daily activities in which they were engaged.
Limbic system: An area in the brain associated with
the control of emotion, eating, drinking, and sexual
Linguistic: To do with language. The term linguistics
is used to refer to the study of language itself.
Linguistic relativity hypothesis: Sometimes also known
as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, this is the idea that
thinking is dependent on the language used by
the individual. In other words, that the possession
of words for each concept shapes a persons
;thought. In the strong form of the hypothesis,
words are seen to determine thought entirely; but
a weak form has become more generally accepted,
which states that the words available serve to

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


facilitate and amplify thought, and to indicate

relationships between concepts, rather than
actually to determine them.
Locus of control: A concept at the core of a social
learning theory developed by Rotter in the 1950s.
It refers to the belief that a person has about where
social reinforcements originate: whether they are
internal to the person, or external. Someone with
an internal locus of control will tend to believe that
marks on an easy depend on the amount of effort
and ability applied to writing it. Someone with an
external locus of control will tend to attribute the
marks to luck, predestination, or the whims of the
person doing the marking. LOC can be measured
using a variety of short self-report scales and has
been found to relate meaningfully to how people
behave in a great variety of situations. Such
evidence supports the construct validity of the
scales, writings in the area often imply that an
internal locus of control is preferable. It is true that
an internal LOC is more likely to result in the
individual making efforts to improve their situation
but whether this is useful depends on whether
events are actually under their control or not. A
similar but not identical concept was developed
more or less independently in attribution theory.
See internal-external scale.
Logic: A set of rules by which conclusions can be
reliably deducted from initial statements
(propositions). Logic can be applied without regard
for the truth of professions. For example, all
students work hard and those who work hard pass
their exams, therefore all students pass their exams
is sound logic. The fact that it is not true that all
those who work hard pass their exams, means that
the conclusion is not necessarily true, although it
could be, by accident. Logic has been of interest
in psychology because it can be regarded as perfect
reasoning and is therefore a starting point for
analyzing how people reason. It turns out that


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

people are much more sophisticated and rather less

rigid in their thinking than logic that has been
invented, and there is not too much similarity
between the two processes.
Logorrhea: Copious, pressured, coherent speech;
uncontrollable, excessive talking. It is observed in
manic episodes of bipolar affective disorder.
Logorrhea is also known as tachylogia, verbomania, volubility and garrulousness. See also
Pressure of speech.
Logo therapy: Existential analysis based on spiritual
values rather than psychobiological laws.
Long-term memory (LTM): A term used to describe
memories other than those which remain for a few
seconds only. According to the two process theory
of memory, any information which is retained for
any length of time above a few seconds is deemed
to have been stored in long-term memory; while
that which lasts just for a brief interval (such as a
telephone number which has just been looked up)
is considered to have been stored in short in shortterm memory. Many modern researchers question
this commonly accepted distinction, arguing that
it is unnecessary and that it fails to discriminate
between information retained for varying periods
of time. One alternative to this approach has been
the levels of processing theory, which argues that
the decisive factor in how long information is
retained is how deeply it has been organized and
processed and that there is no need to postulate
separate memory stores.
Loosening of association: A characteristic schizophrenic thinking or speech disturbance involving
a disorder in the logical progression of thoughts,
manifested as a failure to adequately verbally
communicate. Unrelated and unconnected ideas
shift from one subject to another. See also
Love: An act of full attention and giving that accepts
and attaches to someone as he or she is, thereby

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


enhancing the potential of what that person can

become. Psychoanalysis have as much difficulty
defining such a protean concept as do others. It
appears in the literature as (a) eros a personified
force or principle (b) an instinct or group of
instincts liable to come into conflict with either
self preservative (See self preservation) or destructive instincts. (c) an affect more often contrasted
with hate than with fear; and (d) a capacity or
function liable to inhibition, perversion and sublimation (a) genital love-is not synonym for sexual
desire but the form of love of which a person who
has reached the genital level is capable (b) Loveobject-is an object whom he is indifferent
(c) Oedipal love-is love for a parent or for a parent
Love need: A term used by some humanistic psychologists to refer to the need for affection or positive
regard from others, which is seen as a fundamental
part of human nature.
LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide): A potent psychotogenic drug discovered in 1942. LSD produces
psychotic-like symptoms and behaviour changes,
including hallucinations, delusions, and time space
Luria, Alexander Romanovich (19021977): Russian
neuropsychologist who developed a treatment for
aphasia, combining physical and psychologic
techniques for victims of brain trauma.
Lust Dynamism: A term used by Sullivan to describe
clearly stated sexual desires and abilities.
Lying: To make statements that one knows consciously
are false with intent to deceive should be differentiated from confabulation in which the patient is
not conscious of lying. See also confabulation.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Machiavellianism: A term that describes people who
express the need for power by manipulating and
exploiting others in a deceptive and unscrupulous
Macropsia: False perception that objects are larger than
they really are. See also micropsia.
Magic: Primitive, superstitious practices based on the
assumption that natural processes can be affected
by actions which influence or propitiate supernatural agencies or in the case of sympathetic
magic, by actions which resemble those which the
magician wishes to induce.
Magical thinking: The individual believes that his or
her thoughts, words, or action might, or will in some
manner cause or prevent a specific outcome in
some way that defies the normal laws of cause and
effect. Example: A man believed that if he said a
specific prayer three times each night, his mothers
death might be prevented indefinitely; a mother
believed that if she had an angry thought her child
would become ill. Magical thinking may be part of
ideas of reference or may reach delusional proportions when the individual maintains a firm
conviction about the belief despite evidence to
the contrary.
Magical thinking: is seen in children, in people in
primitive cultures, and in Schizotypal Personality
Disorder, Schizophrenia and Obsessive compulsive Disorder.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Magnans sign: Formication.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): A technique for
imaging anatomical structures which involves
placing subjects in a strong magnetic field and
then, by use of magnetic gradients and brief radio
frequency pulses, determining the resonance characteristics at each point in the area to be studied.
Used to detect structural or anatomical abnormalities, such as brain and incipient multiple sclerosis.
See also brain imaging.
Main effect: The overall relationship between a class
of independent variable and the dependent variable. The term is used mainly in analysis variance.
Maintenance drug therapy: A stage in the course of
chemotherapy. After the drug has reached its
maximal efficacy, the dosage is reduced and
sustained at the minimal therapeutic level that will
prevent a relapse or exacerbation.
Major depression: A severe affective disorder characterized by one or more depressive episodes but no
history of a manic episode.
Maladaptive: Referring any mental activity or behaviour
that is dysfunctional or counter productive with
regard to the persons ability to cope effectively
with the problems and stresses of life.
Maladjustment: A poor adjustment. The term is used
of people, particularly children and adolescents,
whose behaviour is judged to conflict strongly with
the expectations and requirements of society.
Malevolent transformation: Sullivans term for a
learned attitude in which the world of interpersonal
relationships is regarded as painful and dangerous
because of past interpersonal failures. It frequently
leads to social withdrawal.
Malingering: Feigning disease in order top achieve a
specific goal for example, to avoid an unpleasant
responsibility. See also Factitious disorder, somatoform disorder.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Mania: Mood disorder characterized by elation, agitation, hyperactivity and hyper excitability, and
accelerated thinking and speaking (flight of ideas).
It characterizes the manic phase of bipolar affective
disorder. See also hypomania.
Table of Manias and Philias: Used as a suffix- mania
refers to an exaggerated interest in or preference
for something, in many instances of sufficient
intensity to lead to compulsive or impulsive actions.
The traditional terms for several of the impulse
disorders employ the mania suffix: kleptomania,
trichotillomania, pyromania.
In general, mania stresses behaviour and action,
whereas the suffix philia emphasizes the feeling,
attitude, disposition, or preference. Another suffix,
used much less frequently, is lagnia, which
emphasizes the erotic element in the craving or
activity; most words with this suffix refer to what
DSM term paraphilias. Thus pyrophilia means an
excessive interest in fires, pyromania refers to firesetting, and pyrolagnia refers to fire-watching or
fire-setting as an essential or contributing factor
to sexual excitement in the subject.
There are, however, many exceptions to the general
rule. Some mania words, in fact, do not refer to
desire or need to all; intead, they describe an
aversion or loathing (a function more typically
performed by the phobia suffix). Examples are
demonomania (fear of devils) and nautomania (the
sailors fear of the sea).
Acrasia, acolasis, ogriothymia, and hyperepithymia
are general terms for exaggerated interest, inordinate desire, and intemperance. Terms for more
specific preoccupations or cravings, and impulsive
or compulsive actions, include:
Alcohol: Acoria (although Hippocrates used it to
mean moderation in eating), alcoholophilia, alcoholomania, dipsomania, dipsos avens, oenomania,
oinomania, polyposia, poisomania, potomania.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Animals: Ophidiophilia (snakes), zooerasty, zoolagbia.

Bathing, washing: Ablutomania.
Beauty: Callomania (also = delusion that one is
Bitting: Agriothymia hydrophobica, vampirism
Bloodletting: Phiebotomomania, vampirism (love
Buying: Oniomania
Children: Pedophilia, philoprogeneity (ones own)
Collecting books: Biblomania
Collecting, greed: Hoarding, pleonexia, plutomania
Counting, numbers: Arithmomania
Death: Necromania, necrophilia, pseudonecrophilia
(dead bodies), taphophilia (graves, cemeteries)
Destruction of other nations: Agriothymia ambitiosa
Destruction of other religions: Agriothymia religiosa
Drugs: Cocainomia (cocaine), etheromania (ether,
inhalants), opiomania (opiates), toxicomania
Eating, food: Allotriophagy (unnatural food, such
as thread), bulimia, opsomania (sweets), polyphagia
Enemas: Klismaphilia
Family, upbringing: Ecomania, oikiomania
Filth, excreta: Coprolagnia, coprophilia, mysophilia, urolagnia, urophilia
Fire, firesetting: Pyrolagnia, pyromania
Gift giving: Doromania
Hairbiting: Trichophagy
Hair pulling: Trichotilomania
Health, body functioning: Hypochondriasis, nosomania
Images: Iconomania (collecting or worshiping)
Imitate, mimic: Echomimia, echopraxia, philomimesia


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Injury, pain: Castrophilia (castration), flagellomania

(whipping or being whipped)
Machlaenomania (masochism in female), sexual
masochism, sexual sadism, tomomania (desire
to be operated upon), traumatophilia (self)
Lies, myths: Mythomania
litigation: Processomania
Marrying: Gamonomania
Masturbation: Chiromania, psycholagny
Murder, blood: Hemothymia, homicidomania,
Nostalgia, homesickness, need to go home:
Nostomania, philopatrido-mania
Novelty: Philoneism
Odours: Osphresiolagnia, renifleur
Old person: Gerontophilia, gerophilia
Pain: Algolagnia (both sexual sadism and sexual
masochism), algophilia (not necessarily sexual),
lagneuomania (sexual sadism in the male)
The past: Delire ecmnesique
Plucking threads: Allotriorhexia
Power: Cratomania
Questioning: Fragesucht
Repeating action: Mania of recommencement
Sadness: Tristemania
Self: Autophilia, autosynnoia, egomania, folie
Sex, hypersexuality: Aphrodisiomania, acrai,
In females: Aedoeomania, andromania, clitoromania, estromania, folie uterine, hysteromania,
metromania, oestromania, nymphomania, sexual
In male: Don Juan complex, gynecoania, satyriasis,
pronolagnia (need for prostitutes)
Elimination: Sexual vandalism (destroying any
representation of genitals)

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Watching: Scot (t) olognia, scop (t) ophilia, voyeurism

Solitude: agromania, claustrophilia, eremophilia,
lygophilia (dark, gloom)
Speaking: Garrulosity, lalorrhea, logorrhea,
logomonomania, mania concionabunda (public
Spending, buying: Asoticomania
Staling: Kleptolagnia, kleptomania, klopemania,
monomanie du nol
Stealing books: Bibliokleptomania
Suicide: Thanatomania
Sunlight: Photomania
Thoughts (intrusive): Onomatomania
Thrill-seeker: Philobat
Touching: Delire de toucher, peotillomania (ones
own penis), phaneromania (ones own body)
Trees: Dendrophilia
Urine, urination: Unmdinism, urolagnia, urophilia
Wandering: Drapetomania, dromomania, ecdemomania, ecdemomono-mania, eidemomania,
eretodro- mamania, mania errbunds, oikogugia,
planomania, poriomania, wanderlust
Words: Hellenomania (the display of erudition by
excessive use of Greek or Latin terms), logophilia
Work(ing): Erasionomania
Writing: Erotographomania (love letters), graphomania, graphorrhea, metromania (veses),
pornogra- phomania (abscene letters)
Mania a potu: A state, product by alcohol, characterized
by extreme excitement and sometimes leading to
homicidal attacks. The attack is usually brought
on, in a susceptible person, by the ingestion of
comparatively small amounts of alcohol. See
intoxication, alcoholic.
Mania, absorbed: Manic stupor. See mania
Mania, ambitious: Obs. Delirium grandiosum; megalomania (q.v.); folie ambitieuse.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Mania, akinetic: See mania.

Mania, Bells: (Luther V. Bell, American physician,
(180662) Acute mania. See Bells Mania; mania.
Mania, biting: A form of epidemic or mass hysteria
reported in 15th century Germany: a nun began to
bite her associates compulsively, and the impulse
spread throughout convents in Germany, Holland,
and other parts of Europe.
Mania, brooding: Morbid impulse to mediate long and
anxiously; obsessive doubting, We have already
mentioned the important partplayed by the sadistic
instinctual components in the genesis of obsessional neuroses. Where the epistemophilic instinct
is a preponderant feature in the constitution of an
obsessional patient, brooding becomes the principal symptom of the neurosis. (Freud, CO) see folie
du doute.
Mania, Caeser: Obs, A feeling of being absolute master
of life and death amount savages, (Bleuler, TP).
Mania, chattering: Obs, Uncontrollable urge to talk
gibberish; pressured speech.
Mania, chronic: Term first used by Schott for the manic
type of reaction that is more or less permanent.
See mania.
Mania, chronic intellectual: Obs, general disturbance
of the intellect characterized by the existence of
varying unsystematized delusions, accompanied
by periods of mental excitement of depression, with
more or less incoherence and mental weakness.
(Foster, F.P. Medical Dictionary, 189294)
Mania, classification of: See classification of mania.
Mania, collecting: The morbid impulse to collect. It
is sen in one of its most vivid forms in patients
with schizophrenia, who often collect all sorts of
articles, most of them useless; they stuff their
clothing with trash. The collecting mania is often
clearly representative of anal erotism. The symptom
is also frequent in senile dementia. See coprophilia;
hoarding; soteeria.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Mania concionabunda: Obs. Mania for addressing the

Mania, doubting: An obsessive doubting in which the
patient finds it necessary to say no to everything. This patient will raise objections to whatever
comes into his mind from within or without. For
example, the names of people known intimately for
years my become uncertain to the patient. He may
realize intellectually that what he objects to is
correct, but his emotions deny the fact. Usually,
under analysis, it emerges that unconscious
instinctual demands are being denied through the
doubting-mania. (Hinsie, U.P.) See folie du doute.
Mania, grumbling: The patients, indeed, display
exalted self-consciousness, are pretentious and
high-flown, but by no means of cheerful mood;
they rather appear dissatisfied, insufferable,
perhaps even a little anxious. They have something
to find fault with in everything, feel themselves on
every occasion badly treated, get wretched food,
cannot hold out in the dreadful surroundings,
cannot sled in the miserable beds, cannot have
social intercourse with the other patients.
(Kraepelin, E. Manic-Depressive Insanity and
Paranoia, 1921).
Mania homicidal: Obs, Homicidomania, Any kind of
mental disease where there is an attempt or desire
on the part of a patient to kill.
Mania, incendiary: Pyromania, (1921).
Mania, inhibited: One of Krepelins mixed states,
characterized by flight of ideas, cheerful mood, and
psychomotor inhibition. See mania, The patient
of this kind are of more exultant mood, occasionally
somewhat irritable, distractible, inclined to jokes;
when addressed they easility fall into chattering
talk with flight of ideas and numerous clang
associations, but remains in outward behaviour
conspicuously quiet, lie still in bed, only now and
then throw out a remark or laugh to themselves. It
appears, however, as if a great inward tension, as


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

rule, existed, as the patients may suddenly become

very violent. Formerly I classified this inhibit
mania with manic stupor; I think, however, that it
may be separated from that on the ground of the
flight of ideas which here appears distinctly.
(Kraepelin, E. Manic-Depressive Insanity and
Paranoia, 1921).
Mania, Metaphysical: Obs, Folie du doute (q.v.);
insanity of doubt; doubting mania.
Mania mitis: Obs. Hypomania. The slightest forms of
manic excitement are usually called Hypomania.
Mania mitis, mitissmima, also but inappropriately,
mania sine delirio. (Kraepelin, E. ManicDepressive Insanity and Paranoia, 1921).
Mania phantastica infantilis: A rare syndrome of
childhood consisting of exaltation stages, fugues,
confabulations or pseudologia fantastica (q.v.),
immaturity, and retardation of mental development.
The syndrome may occur as part of the delirious
state following infections diseases, and also as a
psychogenic or autochthonous reaction.
Mania, puerperal: Obs. Postpartum psychosis with
manic features. Where mania really appears in the
puerperal state, it is , like every other kind of mania,
only a link in the chain of attacks of maniacaldepressive insanity. (Kraepelin, E. Lectures on
Clinical Psychiatry, 1913). See psychosis, puerperal.
Mania, reactive: Hypomania induced by some external
cause. See reactive.
Mania, religion: Obs. As acute psychotic episode,
usually schizophrenic or organic in origin, characterized by generalized hyperactivity, agitation, restlessness, and many hallucination s with a religious
coloring. See ecstasy.
Mania senilis: Obs. Senile dementia (q.v.)
Mania sine delirio: Mania mitis (q.v.)
Mania, stuporous. See mania.
Mania transitoria: Obs. This term is used to describe
a somewhat rare form of maniacal exaltation, which

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


comes on suddenly, is usually sharp in its character,

and is accompanied by incoherence, partial or
complete unconsciousness of familiar surroundings, and sleeplessness. An attack may last from
an hour up to a few days. (Clouston. T.S. Clinical
Laetures on Mental Diseases, 1904). It was also
called ephemeral mania.
Mania, wandering: See wanderlust.
Mania (co) comium: Obs. Psychiatric hospital.
Maniaphobia: Fear or insanity.
Manic: Nonspecific lay term for a mentally disturbed
person, often someone exhibiting violent or grossly
irrational behaviours.
Manic defence: Form of defensive behaviour exhibited
by persons who defend themselves against anxiety,
guilt and depression by (a) Denial of the guilt,
anxiety and depression (b) the operation of a
phantasy of omnipotent control, by means of
which they imagined themselves to be in control
of all situations which might provoke anxiety or
feelings of helplessness (c) Identification with
objects from whom a sense of power can be
borrowed and (d) Projection of bad aspects of the
self on the others. According to Fairbairn, manic
defence is a an emergency defence brought into
operations when the non-specific techniques
(paranoid, obsessional, hysterical and phobic)
have failed to protect the ego against the onset of
a depressive state. It is not confined to persons
liable to develop mania or MDP.
Manic-depressive illness: An affective disorder
characterized by severe alternations in mood that
are usually episodic and recurrent. The unipolar
type is characterized by either periodic episodes
of manic (manic disorder) or periodic episodes of
depression (depressive disorder). In the bipolar or
circular type, the patient has at least one episode
of each mood extreme and may alternate periodically
between the two. See also Bipolar affective disorder, Major depression.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Manifest content: That part of a dream or fantasy that

a person remembers and reports. In a dream it
represents a disguised and symbolic expression
of the latent content of the dream. See also latent
Manipulative skill: A skill which involves direct action
with the hands, usually in terms of handling and
placing of objects.
Mannerism: Stereotyped gesture or expression that is
peculiar to a given person.
Mannkopfs sign: Pressure over or movement of painful
part may lead to temporary increase of pulse rate
from 10 to 30 beats per minute. This helps in differentiating pain or organic origin from psychogenic
Mantra: In transcendental meditation, a Sanskrit
syllable or word that is repeated over and over in
an effort to produce total relaxation and control
over ones state of consciousness.
Marihuana: Dried leaves and flowers to Cannabis sativa
(Indian hemp). It induces somatic and psychic
changes in a person when smoked or ingested in
sufficient quantity. The somatic changes include
increased heart rate, rise in blood pressure, dryness
of the mouth, increased appetite, and occasional
nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. The psychic
changes include a dreamy-state level of consciousness, a sense of enhanced vividness of visual and
auditory sensations, disruptions of time perception
and memory-dependent, goal directed behaviour,
disruptions of sequential thought processes, and
euphoria and other alterations of mood. The
compound believed to be responsible for most of
its psychological effects is tetrahydrocannabinol
(THC). In strong doses, marihuana can produce
hallucinations and, at times, paranoid ideation. It
is also known as pot, grass, weed, tea and Mary
Jane; it is also spelled marijuana.
Marital counseling: Process whereby a trained counselor helps married couples resolve problems that

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


arise and trouble them in their relationship. The

theory and techniques of this approach were first
developed in social agencies as part of family case
work. The husband and wife are seen by the same
worker in separate and joint counseling sessions
that focus on immediate family problems.
Marital therapy: See Marriage therapy.
Marketing psychology: The psychology of economic
choice and in particular the analysis of consumer
Marriage therapy: A type of family therapy that
involves the husband and the wife and focuses on
the marital relationship as it affects the individual
psychopathology of the partners. The rationale
for the method is the assumption that psychopathological processes within the family structure
and in the social matrix of the marriage perpetuate
individual pathological personality structures,
which find expression in the disturbed marriage
and are aggravated by the feedback between
Marxian personality psychology: A psychological metatheory deriving its assumptions from Marxs
materialistic philosophy of history and applied to
the development and social basis of personality.
Marxist activity psychology: The concept of objectrelated activity is the main concept of this
Masculine identity: Inner sense of gender affiliation
with males. See also Feminine identity, Gender
Masculine protest: Adlerian: doctrine that depicts a
universal human tendency to move from a passive
and feminine role to a masculine and active role.
The doctrine is an extension of his ideas about
organic inferiority. It became the prime motivational
force in normal and neurotic behaviour in the
Adlerian system. See also Adler, Alfred, Inferiority


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Masculinity-femininity scale: Any scale on a psychological test that assesses the relative masculinity
or femininity of the testee. Scales vary and may
focus, for example, on basic identification with
either sex or preference for a particular sex role.
Such scales are strongly influenced by cultural
definitions of masculinity and femininity.
Masochism: A Paraphilia in which sexual gratification
is derived from being physically or psychologically
maltreated by the partner or oneself. It was first
described by an Austrian novelist, Leopold von
Sacher-Masoch (18361895). See also Sadism.
Sadomasochistic relationship.
Massed practice: Extended periods of practice while
learning a new skill, taken without breaks. Massed
practice has been found to be less effective than
distributed practice which allows for consolidation.
See also spaced practice.
Master play: Play during early childhood which leads
to the acquisition of new skills. This definition
leaves open the question of whether children are
motivated to achieve mastery, or perhaps cannot
avoid learning when having fun. See play.
Masturbation: Although the word literally means genital
excitement, it is only used to refer to self-induced
genital excitement. Hence (a) masturbation
phantasy the imaginative activity accompanying
masturbation (b) Infantile masturbationmasturbation occurring in childhood (c) Masturbation
equivalent or substituteActivity inferred to be
an equivalent or substitute for masturbation.
Matching: The name given to ensuring that two sets of
experimental materials or subjects are identical in
all important respects. A matched task or test has
questions carefully selected to ensure that, in each
test, the questions are equivalent in difficulty, and
in the type of problem posed. It is usual to select a
group of subjects matched in terms of age, sex and
overall intelligence levels, although other criteria
may be used if required for the study.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Maternal deprivation: The result of the premature loss

or absence of the mother. In a broader sense, the
lack of proper mothering may constitute a form of
maternal deprivation. That form of loss, separation,
or deprivation may lead to severe emotional disorders in infants and children. Maternal deprivation
may for example, cause analytic depression and
less severe affective and psychosomatic disorders.
The concept was proposed by John Bowlby and
Rene Spitz.
Maternal drive: The tendency, usually presumed to be
innate, to engage in caretaking behaviours such
as nest building, retrieving and suckling during
the infancy of offspring. The tendency is displayed
by mothers, and sometimes by fathers, in many
species. Use of term drive implies that there is
some basic need to be maternal, an assumption
that should not be accepted uncritically. The term
maternal instinct is sometimes used instead, but
this is even more likely to bring in assumptions for
which there is inadequate evidence. The most
misleading use of the terms comes when meanings
which have been built up by studying species like
rats are applied uncritically to humans.
Maternal privation: Rearing from birth without a mother.
Strictly, privation means never having, while
deprivation means having something taken away.
Experiments of total maternal privation have been
carried out on various species, though not with
humans. However, these are typically classed as
maternal deprivation studies, and in practice the
term maternal deprivation is used for all variations
of a shortage of mothering in the upbringing of
Maximum security unit: That part of an institution for
the mentally ill reserved for those who have committed crimes or who are considered dangerous to
Mr Dougall, William (18711938): Born at chadderton
in Lancashire. His main contributions were studies


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

into the social psychology and the psychology

of collectivity.
Mean: A statistical measurement derived from adding a
set of scores and then dividing by the number of
scores. See also Average.
Mean deviation: A statistical measure of the variability
is set of values defined as the sum of the absolute
differences between the values and the mean
divided by the number of values.
Median: The value in a set of values above and below
which there are an equal number of values. For
example, in the series, 1,3,5,9,13 the value 5 is the
median. See also Average.
Medical model: The idea that psychological disorders
are specific illnesses with characteristic symptoms
and predictable outcomes; the view that clusters
of symptoms form syndromes that are caused by
underlying specific illness.
Melancholia: A term originating in the Hippocratic
tradition (4th century BC) which was used to
denote generally the depressive syndrome until
the end of the 19th century. While Kraepelin and
others restricted its use to refer only to depression
in the elderly. Freud redefined it as a morbid
counterpart of normal mourning. Amidst a general
decline in its use. DSM-III resurrected the term by
giving it yet another meaning in which the distinct
quality of depressed mood precisely the contrast
to normal mourning, are the prominent features. In
view of this lack of precision, and the contradictory
connotations, the continued use of the term is not
Melomania: Psychosis characterized by incessant
Meme: A term coined by Dawkins (1976) to his proposed
analogy between biological and cultural evolution
to refer to the hypothetical cultural counterpart of
the gene a unit of cultural inheritance.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Memory: Process whereby what is experienced or

learned is established as a record in the central
nervous system (registration). Where it persists
with a variable degree of permanence (retention)
and can be recollected or retrieved from storage at
will (recall). See also Amnesia, Hypermnesia,
Immediate memory, Long-term memory, Paramnesia,
Short-term memory.
Memory span: A well-known measure of an individuals
capacity for retaining small units of meaningless
information over a brief period of time. In a typical
measure of memory span, a list of digits is read out
to someone at a regular pace. On completion of the
list, the individual is required to repeat what they
have heard, either forward or backward. First
observed by Miller (1955), it has been repeatedly
observed that the average span available to the
individual is of 7 digits, plus or minus 2; and that
this can only be increased by some system for
chunking the information into meaningful units.
See also two process theory, levels of processing.
Memory trace: In older texts sometimes referred to as
an engram, a memory trace is a hypothetical image
of what is to be remembered, which has been
encoded and which is stored, for varying periods
of time. The term memory trace is usually associated
with the decay theory of forgetting, which holds
that memory traces die away if not strengthened
by being recalled from time to time. However, as
this approach is not particularly open to empirical
investigation, it has largely fallen into disfavour
as an explanation of forgetting.
Menarche: The onset of menstrual function.
Mendacity: Pathological lying.
Mens rea: An intent to do harm. In a criminal case
involving a defendants mental state, an important
question may be whether or not he has mens rea,
the ability to form an intention to do harm.
Mental age: A construction development by Binet in
his early work on the measurement of intelligence,


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

mental age refers to the abilities of the individual

by comparison with others of that society. By
selecting a series of ageappropriate problems and
tasks, a set of age norms; is developed, allowing
each child to be assessed in terms of how far they
measures up to these criteria. The level of difficulty
of items at which the child starts to fail is compared
to the norms. The average age of which the child
starts to fail is compared to the norms. The average
of children who pass the items up to this point is
found, and this is regarded as the mental age of
the child being tested. Binets original formulation
of the intelligence quotient involved the comparison of mental age with the child chronological
age (real age).
Mental disorder: A psychiatric illness or disease. Its
manifestations are primarily behavioural or
psychological. It is measured in terms of deviation
from some normative concept.
Mental health: A state of emotional well-being in which
a person is able to function comfortably within his
society and in which his personal achievements
and characteristics are satisfactory to him.
Mental hygiene: Conditions and practices conducive
to the establishment and maintenance of mental
health; field dealing with the prevention and early
treatment of mental illness. See also Orthopsychiatry.
Mental illness: Mental disorder; any serious impairment of adjustment; any psychiatric disorder listed
in the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or
in the World Health Organizations International
Classification of Diseases.
Mental imagery: The use of imagined pictures, or other
sensory images, such as sounds or smells, to
represent information in the mind. Mental imagery
involves recreating the apparent sensation, as part
of the process of memory or thinking. See also
symbolic representation.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Mental retardation (general): A condition of arrested

or incomplete development of the mind which is
especially characterized by subnormality of
intelligence. The assessment of intellectual level
should be based on whatever information is
available, including clinical evidence, adaptive
behaviour and psychometric findings. Mental
retardation often involves psychiatric disturbances
and may often develop as a result of some physical
disease or injury. Synonyms: amentia: mental
deficiency; mental subnormality; oligophrenia.
Mental retardation, mild: Mental retardation corresponding to an IQ level of 50 to 70. Individuals with
this level of subnormality are educable and usually
acquire sufficient instrumental and social skills to
enable them to adjust to the demands of daily life
with minimum impairment. Synonyms: feebleminded, high-graded defect, mild mental subnormality; moron; debility.
Mental retardation, moderate: Mental retardation
corresponding to an IQ level of 35 to 49. Individuals
with this level of retardation usually acquire basic
speech and can be trained for elementary self-care
and simple occupational tasks, under supervision
and guidance. Synonym: imbecility.
Mental retardation, profound: Mental retardation
corresponding to and IQ level of below 20. Severe
sensory-motor impairments are usually present,
and acquisition of speech is not possible. In daily
living such individuals require constant aid and
supervision. Synonym: idiocy.
Mental retardation, severe: Mental retardation corresponding to an IQ level of 20 to 34. Individuals with
this level of retardation usually suffer from impairment of motor and sensory development, and
only acquire the rudiments of speech. Training in
elementary self-care may be possible, though
difficult and constant close supervision of daily
living is required.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Metal set: A state of preparedness to perform certain

kinds of mental operations rather than others.
Mental sets may refer to particular kinds of problemsolving (see Learning set), or to readiness to
perceive certain things rather than others (see
Perceptual set), or to a preparedness to remember
certain items of information in preference to others.
Mental status: General functional condition of mental
and behavoiural process as determined by
psychiatric assessment of a variety of areas of
functioning, such as state of consciousness, mood
and affect, thinking and speech; motor behaviour,
general knowledge, memory, calculation, judgement,
abstraction, and insight.
Mere exposure effect: The fact that repeated exposure
to a neutral stimulus it sufficient to induce positive
reactions to that stimulus (Zajonc, 1968).
Merycism: See rumination.
Mesmerism: Early term for hypnosis. Named after Anton
Mesmer (17331815).
Metacognition: An overall term used to refer to the
knowledge about how cognitive processes work
which is often highly influential in cognitive development. The study of Metacognition includes the
study of the ways in which people monitor and
control their own cognitive activity, such as being
aware of cognitive limitations (knowing that you
dont know), or abilities (knowing that you can
learn certain types of information readily). The act
of looking a word up in a dictionary, for instance,
is one which would be unlikely to happen without
Metamemory: Knowledge about how ones memory
work, or what its limitations are. Such knowledge
often directly affects behaviour, such as a decision
to write a note to yourself to remind you of something, or to adopt a specific revision technique to
make remembering easier. See also metacognition.
Metapelet: The name given to a child-nurse or professional carer for children in an Israeli Kibbutz.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Such an individual carries the responsibility for

the care of the children, rather than the parents
and oversees their day to day experience and early
Metapsychiatry: The interface between psychiatry and
such psychic phenomena as parapsychology,
mysticism, altered states of consciousness, and
nonmedical healing.
Metapsychology: Term invented by Freud to describe
what other sciences call general theory i.e.,
statements at the highest level of obstruction.
Metapsychological formulations describe mental
phenomena in terms of the fictive psychiapparatus
and ideally contain references to the topographical
(id, ego or superego), dynamic (the instincts
involved) and economic (distribution of energy
within the apparatus) aspects of the phenomenon
in question, Metapsychology is part of classical
theory of psychoanalysis. Metapsychology is
branch of theoretical or speculative psychology
that deals with theories, hypotheses, or phenomena
that are largely beyond the realm of empirical
verification. Examples of such topics include
mysticism; the origin, purpose, and structure of
the mind; the philosophical nature of the mindbody
interrelationship; the place of mind in the universe.
See also parapsychology.
Meyer, Adolf (18661950): American psychiatrist
known for his concept of psychobiology. See also
distributive analysis and synthesis, Ergasia,
Euergasia, Fabulation, Psychobiology, Syntropy.
Michigan Picture Stories: Projective type of psychological test similar to the Thematic Apperception
Test, it is specifically designed for use with
Micropsia: False perception that objects are smaller
than they really are; sometimes called Lilliputian
hallucination. See also Hallucination, Macropsia.
Midas syndrome: Increased sexual desire in the female
associated with diminished desire and capacity in
her male partner.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Middle insomnia: Waking up after falling asleep without

difficulty and then having problem falling asleep
again. See also Initial insomnia, Terminal insomania.
Migraine: Severe unilateral, throbbing headache that
appears periodically, usually beginning during the
teenage years and continuing to recur with diminishing frequency during advancing years. Classic
migraine is a syndrome ushered in by a transient
derangement of neurological function, often a
visual disturbance, followed by hemicranial
headache, nausea, and vomiting all of which last
for anywhere from several hours to 1 or 2 days.
Common migraine has the same character and time
course but develops without any prodrome.
Patients with migraine are typically described as
tense, meticulous, hard driving persons; there
seems to be high frequency of associated emotional conflicts. Psychotherapy may thus play a
role in its treatment.
Milieu therapy: Treatment that emphasizes appropriate
socio-environmental manipulation for the benefit
of the patient. The setting for milieu therapy is
usually the psychiatric hospital. See also Moral
treatment. Therapeutic community.
Mind: In psychoanalytic terms, mind is a nexus of
activities and a sequence of adaptive response.
Minimal brain dysfunction: Behavioural syndrome of
childhood characterized by learning difficulties,
decreased attention span, distractibility, hyperactivity, impulsiveness, emotional lability, and,
often, disturbances in perceptuomotor and
language development. The psychopathological
mechanisms have not been defined. Although the
syndrome has been diagnosed with increasing
frequency over the past 20 years, its validity as a
diagnostic entity has been questioned. The term
minimal brain dysfunction implies neurological
cauzation, but in most cases there are no major
unequivocal neurological signs, and there has been
an unfortunate tendency to apply the term as a

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


convenient explanatory label to any child presenting with a specific learning difficulty or behavioural dysfunction. See also attention deficit disorder, Hyperactivity.
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI):
Questionnaire type of psychological test for
persons age 16 and over. It consists of true-false
statements are coded in various scales that assess
different dimensions of the persons personality
structure and measure the closeness of fit with
various psychiatric diagnostic categories. It
consists of 550 items.
Minor tranquilizer: See Antianxiety drug.
Minutes of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society: Dairy
of Freuds Wednesday Evening Society (after 1910
Viena Psychoanalytic Society) as recorded by Otto
Rank, the paid secretary between 1906 and 1915.
Mitchell, S. Weir (18801912): American neurologist
known for his concept of rest treatment to cure
anaemia of the brain.
Mixoscopia: A sexual perversion in which a person
attains orgasm by watching his or her love object
make love with another person.
Mneme Memory: Hence mnemic image, the psychological equivalent of a memory trace.
Mnemonic: An aid to memory, which can be achieved
in any way, including leaving a note for oneself.
There have been several different kinds of
mnemonics identified and developed over time.
Many of them have to do with forming of mental
images which will help the person to remember
connections between item, or lists. Some mnemonics rely on the use of visual imagery, such as the
method of loci or the key word technique. Other
mnemonics rely on verbal processing, such as firstletter mnemonics, in which the first letter of each
item spells out a new word or a sentence. For
example Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain for
the colours of the spectrum (red, orange, yellow,
etc). The famous knot in the handkerchief is a


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

mnemonic which combines visual and tactile cues

to help the person to remember.
Mode: In a set of measurements, the value that appears
most frequently. See also Average.
Modelling: Providing an example which can be limited,
such that the imitator is able to learn new styles of
behaviour. Modeling is considered to be an important aspect of social learning in children. It is often
explicitly in therapy, to allow adults to vary their
styles of interaction with others.
Modes of representation: Ways of coding information
internally. Bruner identified a developmental
sequence in representation, arguing that the first
mode to develop was enactive representation, in
which information is stored as muscle memories.
As the childs experience widens, and the environment makes increasingly complex demands, more
sophisticated modes of representation are required:
first iconic representation (using images) and then
symbolic representation (in which information is
represented by symbols).
Monomania: Morbid mental state characterized by
preoccupation with one subject. It is also known
as partial insanity.
Monosymptomatic hypochondriasis: It is an illness characterized by a simple hypochondriacal delusion
that is sustained over a considerable period, sometimes for may years. The delusion is not secondary
to another psychiatric illness and the personality
remains otherwise well preserved. Also known as
monohypochondriacal psychosis.
Monotropy: Bowlbys original idea of the way in which
attachment develops between the young infant and
its mother. Based on ideas from ethological studies
of imprinting, the theory stated that the relationship
which an infant formed with its mother was
qualitatively different from any other relationship
which it formed with other people, and that if the
bond was broken, through separation, during the

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


early years of life, then the child could suffer

permanent damage. This led to the maternal
deprivation debate, and produced extensive
research into attachment and mother-infant
Mood: A pervasive and sustained emotion that in the
extreme, markedly colours the persons perception
of the world. Mood is to affect as climate is to
weather. Common examples of mood include
depression, elation, anger and anxiety. See also
Affect, Anxiety, Elation, Depression.
Mood congruent psychotic features: A DSM term which
refers to hallucinatory or delusional phenomena
whose content consistently reflects the mood of a
manic or depressed patient. See also Nihilism.
Mood, dysphonic: An unpleasant mood, such as
depression, anxiety, or irritability.
Mood elevated: A mood that is more cheerful than
normal; it does not necessarily imply pathology.
Mood, euphoric: An exaggerated feeling of well-being.
As a technical term, euphoria implies a pathological
mood. Whereas the individual with a normally
elevated mood may describe himself or herself as
being in good spirits, Very happy, or cheerful
the euphoric person is likely to exclaim that he or
she is on top of the world up in the clouds, or
to say, I feel ecstatic Im flying or I am high.
Mood, euthymic: Mood in the normal range which
implies the absence of depressed or elevated mood.
Mood, expansive: Lack of restraint in expressing ones
feeling, frequently with an overvaluation of ones
significance or importance. There may also be
elevated or euphoric mood.
Mood-incongruent psychotic features: A DSM-III term
which refers to hallucinatory or delusional
phenomena whose content does not consistently
reflect the mood of a manic or depressed patient.
Mood, irritable: Internalized feeling of tension associated with being easily annoyed and provoked to


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Mood-swing: Oscillation of a persons emotional feeling

tone between periods of elation and periods of
Moral anxiety: In Freudian theory, anxiety that comes
from a fear of the superego. As the superego has
incorporated the rewards and punishments of the
parents, it is able to inflict pain, and if it becomes
too powerful the person may live in a chronic state
of anxiety. See also neurotic anxiety.
Moral development: This should refer to the development of moral standards and behaviour. In fact the
term has been taken over by a particular approach
which concentrate on moral judgement. Piaget
analyzed tendencies in the developing moral
judgement of the child, such as a progression away
from a belief in immanent justice. Lawrence
Kohlberg developed Piagets ideas and produced
a scheme of six stages of moral reasoning along
with the child progresses. While moral reasoning
is important, the theory has been criticized both
for the ways in which the stages are defined and
for appearing to undervalue other aspects of moral
development such as moral behaviour.
Moral insanity: This term was first introduced by
Pritchard to designate that variety of insanity in
which there were no delusions. The word moral
in the early nineteenth century meant much the
same as the word psychological today. By the
middle of the nineteenth century the term moral
insanity was used to describe persons who would
now be called psychopaths and alcohol addicts.
Moral realism: Another name given to the stage of
heteronomous morality described by Piaget, in
which the child accepts fully the rules which are
given of it by society and those in authority. See
also autonomous morality.
Moral treatment: A philosophy and technique of
treating mental patients that prevailed in the first
half of the nineteenth century and emphasized
removal of restraints, humane and kindly care,

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


attention to religion, and performance of useful

tasks in the hospital. It is considered the forerunner
of current milieu therapy.
Morbid perplexity: A condition seen in schizophrenia
in association with loss of ego boundaries. The
patient exhibits profound confusion about his own
identity and the meaning of existence.
Morphemes: The smallest units of meaning in speech
perception, can be prefixes, words, or suffixes;
composed of syllables.
Morbido: Term coined by Federn (1936) to describe a
form of energy belonging to the death instinct and
analogous to libido.
Moses and Monotheism: Title of a book by Freud
published in 1939. In this book Freud undertook a
historical but frankly speculative reconstruction
of the personality of Moses and examined the
concept of monotheism and the abiding effect of
the patriarch on the character of the jews. One of
the Freuds last works, it bears the imprint of his
latter day outlook and problems.
Mother superior complex: Tendency of a therapist to
play the role of the mother in his relations with his
patients. The complex often leads to interference
with the therapeutic process. See also God complex.
Mother surrogate: Mother substitute. In psychoanalysis, the patient projects his mother image onto
another person and responds to that person
unconsciously, in an inappropriate and unrealistic
manner, with the feeling and attitudes that he had
towards his real mother.
Motivation: The force or energy associated with an
internal state that propels a person to engage in
behaviour to satisfy a need or desire.
Motivated forgetting: A term for the forgetting of
information as a result of an unconscious unwillingness to remember it (e.g., the forgetting of an
impending dental appointment, because you dont
want to go). According to Freud, all forgetting was


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

motivated forgetting in some way; either because

it could lead to the recall of deeply buried childhood
traumas, or because the information which was
forgotten was symbolic of such trauma. Other
researchers identified alternative explanations of
many kinds of forgetting, but motivated forgetting
is all considered valid as an explanation of some,
instance of failure to recall information.
Motivators: Specific incentives or aspects of the
environment which can induce certain forms of
behaviour in the individual. The term has been
commonly used in management theory, where it
includes such items as the provision of personal
career development at work, or bonus payments
which would encourage those in employment to
work harder.
Mourning: Reaction to a loss of a love object (important
person, object, role, status, or anything considered
part of ones life) consisting of a process of
emotional detachment from that object which frees
the subject to find other interests and enjoyments.
See Grief.
Multiple delusions: Concurrent delusions. The delusions need not be interconnected.
Multiple mothering: Child care which is carried out by
a number of different people, usually in succession.
Infants in institutions were often exposed to a
succession of caregivers and it is widely accepted
that this form of maternal deprivation resulted in
long-term difficulties in forming relationships.
These days considerable efforts are made to avoid
the repeated making and breaking of attachments
in children who have to be brought up in care.
Multiple personality: Psychiatrist Morrton Princes
term for the dissociative reaction in which a person
has two or more distinctive personalities, most of
them knowing nothing of the others. In DSM-III it
is one of the dissociative disorders. See also
Hysterical neurosis.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Multistore model of memory: The model that portrays

the encoding, storage, and retrieval of information.
As involving three separate though interacting
memory systems; a sensory register, a short-term
memory, and a long-term memory.
Munchausens syndrome: It is a rare condition, characterized by patients who reportedly seek admission
to hospital in a state of mental or physical distress,
give plausible histories to support their complaints
and submit themselves to painful or even dangerous investigations and therapies but then
abruptly discharge themselves when discovered
to have fabricated their stories an physical signs.
Mutism: Organic or functional absence of the faculty
of speech.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Narcissism: Self love. It is linked to autoerotism but is
devoid of genitality. The word is derived from
Narcissus, a Greek mythology figure who fell in
love with his own reflected image. In Psychoanalytic theory, it is divided into primary and
secondary types. Primary Narcissism refers to the
early infantile phase of object relationship development, when the child has not differentiated himself
from the outside world. All sources of pleasure are
unrealistically recognized as coming from within
himself giving him a false sense of omnipotence.
Secondary Narcissism results when the libido,
once attached to external love objects, is redirected
back to the self. See also Autistic thinking,
Narcissistic personality disorder: Personality disorder
characterized by a grandiose sense of self-importance, preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited
success, exhibitionistic need for attention and
admiration, exaggerated response to criticism or
other perceived threats to self-esteem; and disturbance in interpersonal relationships. Diagnostic
category introduced in DSM-III.
Narcoanalysis: See Narcotherapy.
Narcolepsy: Uncontrollable, recurrent, brief episodes
of sleep associated with excessive daytime sleepiness, cataplexy, sleep paralysis, hypnagogic hallucinations, and often disturbed nocturnal sleep.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Narcotherapy: Psychotherapy conducted with the

patient in a drug-induced stupor or semi consciousness state, as by the administration of barbiturates.
It was originally used in the treatment of acute
disorders arising in the setting of military combat.
It includes narcoanalysis and narcosynthesis.
National Training Laboratories: Organization started
in 1947, at Bethel, Maine, to train professionals
who work with groups. Interested in personal
development eventually led to sensitivity training
and encounter groups.
Nativist: An individual or school or thought holding
that the important determinants of development
are directly inherited, through genetic transmission. The name implies that the emphasis is on
qualities which are inborn. Although nativists do
recognize that environment factors may have an
effect on development, they consider such effects
to be minimal, with the main explanation for
individual differences being the genotype of the
individual. The maturational theory of Gesell is an
example of a nativist position. See also empiricist.
Natural group: Group that tends to evolve spontaneously in human civilization, such as a kinship,
tribal, or religious group. In contrast are various
contrived groups or aggregates of people who meet
for a relatively brief time to achieve some goal.
Nature: The genetic factors contributing to behaviour
and perception. Compare nature.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Self-esteem Esteem by others
Love and belongingness
Safety and security
Physiological Air, water, food, shelter, sleep, sex
The external environment

Fig. 9. Maslow's Hierarchy of human needs.

Nature-nurture controversy: The argument concerning the relative roles of the contributions of nature
and nurture in the development of organisms; an
enduring question in psychology; most psychologists now favour an interaction of nature and
nurture. See Nature-Nurture interaction.
Nature-nurture interaction: The interplay of the
genetic inheritance of an individual and environmental influences to produce the characteristics
actually observed. See phenotype, reaction range.
Necromania: Pathological preoccupation with dead
Necromimesis: The delusion in which the patient
believes himself to be dead and acts as though he
Necrophilia: Sexual attraction to or sexual contact with
dead bodies.
Necrophilism: A morbid desire to be in the presence of
dead bodies.
Need: Ambiguous term referring to an internal state of
unsatisfaction or tension related to a wish, urge,

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


desire, or other endogenous behavioural stimulus.

Classically, it implied an innate or instinctual
internal stimulus. See also Drive, Instinct, Motivation.
Need for achievement (achievement motivation): A
learned motive to meet personal standards of
success and excellence in a chosen area.
Need for affiliation: The motive to associate with other
people, as by seeking friends, moral support,
contact comfort or companionship.
Need for competence: The motive to be capable in ones
activities and to master new situations.
Need for power: A learned motive to dominate or control
Negation: Process by which a perception or thought is
admitted to consciousness in negative form e.g.,
the onset of a headache is registered by the
thought. How lucky I am to have been free from
headaches for so long. Not to be confused with
denial; negativism.
Negative afterimage: A visual image that persists after
a visual stimulus is withdrawn and that has features
which contrast with those of the stimulus (e.g., a
contrasting colour).
Negative correlation: An association between increases in one variable and decreases in another.
Negative goal: Goal which an individual tries to escape
from or avoid. Compare positive goal.
Negative halo: Formation of unfavourable opinions
from a few negative characteristics. Compare
positive halo effect.
Negative identity: Erik Eriksons term for the rebellious
behaviour of adolescence when they do the opposite of what parents and others consider proper
and desirable.
Negative Oedipus complex: Form of Oedipus complex
in which the subject wishes to possess the parent
of its own sex and regards that of the opposite sex
as its rival.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Negative reinforcement: A reinforcement procedure in

which a response is followed by the removal, delay,
or decrease in intensity of an unpleasant stimulus;
as a result, the response becomes stronger or more
likely to occur.
Negative reinforcer: A stimulus or event which, when
its termination is made contingent on a particular
response, increases the likelihood of the response.
Compare positive rein forcer, punishment.
Negative therapeutic reaction: Technical term for a
fortunately rare hazard of psychoanalytical treatment viz- exacerbation of the patients symptoms
in response to precisely those interpretations which
are expected to alleviate them.
Negative transfer: See transfer.
Negative transference: Transference marked by a
hostile attitude toward the therapist. See transference.
Negativism: Verbal or nonverbal opposition or resistance to outside suggestion and advice. It is commonly seen in catatonic schizophrenia in which
the patient resists any efforts to be moved or does
the opposite of what is asked. It may also occur in
organis psychoses and mental retardation.
Neoanalyst: A psychoanalytically oriented theorist who
places more emphasis on social factors and less
emphasis on sexuality. See psychoanalysis.
Neo-behaviourism: A revised form of behaviourism in
which it is recognized that cognitive processes play
a role in determining behaviour.
Neo-Freudians: A term used to describe psychoanalytic
theories who accept Freuds basic ideas, but have
developed them further, often emphasizing social
and cultural factors in psychodynamic processes.
The British neo-Freudian have concentrated on
object relations which in turn had made the study
of attachments an important part of developmental
Neologism: New word or phrase, often seen in schizophrenia Definitions restrict the use of the term to

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


those new words or phrases whose derivation

cannot be understood. However the term
neologism has also used to mean a word that
has been incorrectly constructed but whose
origins are nonetheless understandable for
example, headshoe to mean hat. Those words
are more properly referred to as word approximations. See also Metonymy, Periphrasis, Word
Nervous breakdown: Nonspecific term for mental
disorder often implying an acute decompensation.
Network: The persons in the patients environment with
whom he is most intimately connected. It includes
family members, friends, and work and recreational
contacts. British psychiatrist S.H. Foulkes emphasized that psychopathology in a person is a
function of his interactions within his social
network and that attempts to change the person
should include attempts to influence his network
as well. See also Extended-family therapy. Social
network debility.
Neurological amnesia: See amnesia, neurological.
Neurologist: A physician who specializes in diseases
of the nervous system.
Neurology: The medical specialty that deals with
organic diseases of the nervous system.
Neuropsychiatry: The medical specialty that combines
psychiatry and neurology.
Neurosis: Mental disorder characterized primarily by
anxiety, which may either be directly experienced
and dominate the clinical picture or be unconsciously controlled and modified by various psychological mechanisms to produce other subjectively distressing and ego-alien symptoms. It was
known as psychoneurosis. Although neuroses are
not accompanied by gross distortion of reality or
severe personality disorganization, normal functioning is impaired by the persons symptoms.
Neurotic disorders have no organic basis, are
relatively persistent, and are treatable.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

accident (n): Traumatic (n).

acual n: Anosological category created by Freud,
comprized of hypochondria, neurasthenia, and
anxiety (n).
battle (n): War in.
cardiac (n): Cardioneurosis; anxiety concerning
the state of the heart, as a result of palpitation,
chest pain, or symptoms not due to heart
disease. It may be related to some statement
made by the physician which the patient misinterprets. See also neurocirculatory asthenis.
character (n): Affecting of manifested by the
functioning of the entire personality rather
than through discrete symptoms.
compensation (n): The development of mental
symptoms motivated by the desire for, and
hope of, monetary gain.
conversion hysteria (n): Conversion hysteria.
fatigue (n): Neurasthenia or psychasthenia.
military (n): A mental disorder induced by military
service; see also war on and shell-shock.
neogenic (n): In existential psychiatry, the neurotic
symptomatology resulting from existential
obsessive- compulsive (n): An effort to overcome
anxiety by perfectionistic or magical behaviour.
occupation or professional (n): A functional disorder
of a group of muscles used chiefly in ones
occupation, marked by the occurrence of
spasm, paresis, or incoordination on attempt
to repeal the habitual movements, as in writing
or playing the piano.
oral neuroses: Functional speech disorder e.g.,
stuttering, may be considered disorders of the
oral libido.
pension (n): A type of compensation (n), motivated
by the desire for premature retirement or

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


postconcussion (n): Neurosis following cerebral

concussion; a type of traumatic (n): See also
neuropsychologic disorder.
posttraumatic (n): Traumatic (n).
sexual (n): A mental disorder of the sexual function,
e.g., impotence.
tarda (n): Neurotic patterns developing in older
people, related to organic cerebral lesions.
transference (n): In psychoanalysis, the redirection
of the patients habitual neurotic patterns
toward the person of the analyst.
traumatic (n): Any functional nervous disorder
following an accident or injury.
trophic (n): Trophoneurosis.
vagabond (n): Dromomania.
war (n): Battle (n): an emotional disorder induced
by conditions existing in warfare; see also
military (n) and shell-shock.
Neurotic disorder: A mental disorder in which the
predominant disturbance is a distressing symptom
or group of symptoms which one considers unacceptable and alien to ones personality. There is
no marked loss of reality testing; behaviour does
not actively violate gross social norms although it
may quite disabling. The disturbance is relatively
enduring or recurrent without treatment and is not
limited to a mild transitory reaction to stress. There
is no demonstrable organic etiology. In DSM-III,
the neurotic disorders were included in affective
disorder, somatoform, dissociative, and psychosexual disorders.
Neurotic process: A specific etiological process
involving the following sequence: (1) unconscious
conflicts between opposing desires or between
desires and prohibitions, which cause (2) unconscious perception of anticipated danger or dysphoria,
which leads to (3) use of defense mechanisms that
result in (4) either symptoms, personality disturbance, or both.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Neutralization: The process by which infantile sexual

and aggressive impulses and lose their infantile
New beginning: Term used by M. Balint to describe the
start of the process of recovery occurring in
patients whose cure necessitates a regression to
extreme dependence on the analyst. It corresponds
to what Winnicott (1958) calls emergence of the
true self.
Night hospital: A part-time hospital facility in which
patients function in the outside world during the
day but return to the hospital at night. See also
Day hospital Partial hospitalization, weekend
Nightmare: Anxiety attack while dreaming. It is
characterized by mild anxiety, good recall of dream,
and mild autonomic reactions. See also Nightterror.
Night-terror: Extreme panic attack while dreaming. It
is characterized by verbalizations, confusion, autonomic activity, and poor recall of dream. It is also
called over nocturnes.
Nihilism: Delusion of the non existence of the self part
of the self. The term also refers to an attitude of
total rejection of established values or extreme
skepticism regarding moral and value judgements.
Nihilistic delusion: See delusion.
Nomenclature: System of specific technical terms used
to identify categories of disease.
Noncomplementary role: See role.
Non-contingent reinforcement: Reinforcement which
is not dependent on a particular action or response
from the organism involved. Such reinforcement is
often involved in the development of superstitious
Non-directive approach: Technique in which the
therapist follows the lead of the patient in the
interview, rather than introducing his own theories
and directing the course of the interview. This
method is applied in both individual and group
therapy. See also passive therapist.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Non-parametric tests of significance: When data do

not satisfy certain statical assumptions, such as
being normally distributed, other specialized
statistical procedures which do not require assumptions of normality must be employed. These
methods are often based upon an analysis of ranks
rather than on the distribution of the actual score
themselves. Widely used examples are the chisquire. Spearman rank order correlation, median,
and Mann-Whitney U tests.
Non-verbal communication (NVC): Communication
through signals other than those used in language.
For example posture, appearance, smell and range
of specific behaviours such as pupil dilation, facial
expression and the pattern of eye contact. Nonverbal communication takes place through a
number of different non-verbal cues, which can be
combined in various ways. Some researchers have
estimated NVC as being more than four times as
powerful as verbal communication, though one
could imagine that trying to teach the A level
psychology syllabus non-verbally would be rather
laborious. An understanding of the cues and use
of non-verbal signals forms the basis of most social
skills training.
Non-verbal cue: A signal which conveys some kind of
communication to an observer without involving
the use of language. Non-verbal cues are usually
considered to be of seven main types: paralanguage, proxemics, posture, gesture, facial expression,
eye-contact, and dress. Some theorists additionally
consider that ritual and ritual symbolism should
also be regarded as an important medium of nonverbal communication.
Normality: A state which is usually considered to be
unremarkable: the opposite of abnormal. In
attempting to identify normal and abnormal
behaviour of the purposes of psychological classification, three alternative approaches are often
specified. Firstly, normality is taken to be behaviour
which is infrequently acknowledged. (In some


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

cases, such as the imagined seeing of a recently

dead relative, the experience may actually be very
common though not often openly acknowledged).
A second definition of normal behaviour, is
behaviour which conforms to accepted norms, or
social demands. In this event, social consensus
becomes a major factor in decisions concerning
normality and abnormality. The third approach
concentrates on statistically common behaviour,
irrespective of consensus. This approach rests on
the assumptions of the Gaussian (normal) distribution. The problem here is that with this approach,
people who are statistically uncommon in a highly
valued direction (e.g., of extremely high IQ) are
also defined as abnormal.
Norms (in social psychology): A norm is a rule or
standard for action. Social norms are shared
definitions of desirable behaviour.
Nosology: The science of the classification of diseases.
NREM sleep: Non-REM sleep; sleep stages I through
See also REM sleep.
Nuclear family: Immediate members of a family,
including the parents and the children.
Null hypothesis: Research term for the hypothetical
assumption that any difference observed between
two groups or conditions or between a particular
group and the general population is purely
accidental and due to chance alone. See also Type 1
error. Type 2 error.
Number and letter peg systems: Mnemonic techniques
in which to be remembered items are linked with a
well-learned set of numbers or letters. Compare
method of loci.
Nurse, psychiatric: Part of the mental health team,
usually in an institutional setting. The nurse works
with patients in the hospital milieu; today the
psychiatric nurse often carries out individual,
family, and group psychotherapy.
Nymphomania: Abnormal, excessive, insatiable desire
in a woman for sexual intercourse. See also

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Obesity: Excessive weight. Obesity is usually defined
in terms of body weight being a certain percentage
above the ideal weight for that persons age, sex
and height. The percentage varies but is often
either 15% or 30%. This vagueness is not crucial
as there is no absolute standard for ideal weight
which is largely a cultural judgement.
Object: That towards which action or desire is directed;
that which the subject requires in order to achieve
instinctual satisfaction; that to which the subject
relates himself (a) Object, badAn object whom
the subject hates or fears, who is experienced as
malevolent. A bad object may be either an internal
or an external object. (b) Object cathesis
Investment of energy is an external object, in
contrast to its investment in the self. (c) Object
choiceNarcissistic object choice is based on
identification with an object similar to the subject.
Anaclitic object-choice is based on the subjects
difference from the subject. (d) Object constancy
the ability to maintain a lasting relationship with a
specific single object; or inversely, the tendency
to reject substitutes for a familiar object. (e) Object
externalAn object recognized by the subject as
being external to himself. (f) Object good An object
whom the subject loves, who is experienced as
benevolent. A good object may be either internal
or external. (g) Object internalObject representation which has acquired the significance of an


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

external object. They are derived from external

objects by introjections (h) Object libidoLibido
which is invested on objects, as opposed to
narcissistic libido which is invested in the self
(i) Object lossThe loss of usually, a good external
object. The event which precedes introjections
and/or mourning. (j) Object loveLove of an object
which is recognized as a person other than oneself,
in contrast to self-love and identification. (k) Object,
need satisfyingAn object whom the subject
loves solely on accounts of its capacity to satisfy
needs and whom the subject fails to recognize as a
person. The term is only used when discussing
the nature of infants attachment to its mother.
(l) Object, part An object which is part of a person
e.g., a penis or a breast (m) Object relationship
The relation of the subject to his object, not the
relation between the subject and the object which
is an interpersonal relationship (n) Object
(relations) theoryPsychoanalytical theory in
which the subjects need to relate to object occupies
the central position; in contrast to instinct theory,
which centres around the subjects need to reduce
instinctual tension (o) Object-representation The
mental representation of an object. (p) Object
transitionalobject which the subject treats as
being half-way between himself and another person.
(q) Object wholeAn object whom the subject
recognizes as being a person with similar rights,
feelings, needs etc., as himself.
Object concept: The idea that objects have a continuing
existence, whether the individual is paying
attention to them or not. Although this has been
disputed by philosophers, the operational concept
is an important one for the young child to develop
in its interactions with the world; and the way in
which this happens has been extensively studies
as part of cognitive development.
Object constancy: The perceptual process by which
adjustment is made to the fact that objects have a

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


continuing existence even when not being attended

to. See also object concept, size constancy, shape
Object permanence: See object concept.
Object relations: The emotional bonds between one
person and another, as contrasted with interest in
and love for the self; usually described in terms of
capacity for loving and reacting appropriately to
Object relations theory: A psychoanalytic theory
developed primarily by Melanie Klien and W. Ronald
Fairbarin in Britain as a reaction against Freud
concentration on instincts. Objects are the people,
parts of people or things to whom the individual
relates. Infants are believed to relate only to separate parts of people, such as the mothers breast.
The ability to perceive the parts as belonging to a
whole person, with both their good and bad
aspects, has to be learned. Only a whole person
can be recognized as having their own feelings,
needs, etc., which ought to be respected, so only a
whole person can be the object of a mature relationship. Psychological disturbance in adults is believed
to result from problems in object relations in childhood, with the more severe conditions reflecting
problems earlier in development, hence the emphasis by Klein on the breast as the first, crucial,
part object. Therapy is directed to resolving the
relationship with bad or persecutory objects internalized by the patient so that they can make mature
relationships with people and not just use them as
vehicles for their own gratification.
Objective test: A test which can be marked without any
need for subjective judgements. For example,
multiple-choice tests and intelligence tests are
regarded as objective by most psychologists.
Observational learning: Learning which occurs as a
result observing the behaviour of others. As such
observational learning includes the two processes


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

of imitation and identification, and is an important

component of social learning theory.
Obsession: Persistent and recurrent idea, thought, or
impulse that cannot be eliminated from consciousness by logic or reasoning. Obsessions are involuntary and ego-dystonic. See also compulsion.
Obsessional thinking: This term refers not to obsessional thoughts but to form of thinking displayed
typically by obsessional characters and accepted
by them as a valid form of mental activity. Its
function is to reconcile ambivalent attitudes and it
tends therefore to consist of highly abstract formulations designed to reconcile contradictions or of
statements typically linked by buts which tend
to cancel one another out.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder: A neurotic disorder
characterized by the persistent recurrence of
obsessions and compulsions.
Obsessive compulsive personality: A personality
disorder characterized by perfectionism, over
conscientiousness, and excessive inhibition with
regard to self expression and relaxation. It is also
called anankastic personality. In DSM III the
condition was called compulsive personality
Occams razor: A scientific principle which states that,
given choice between two possible solutions or
theoretical explanations for a given problem, the
simple one of the two should be adopted.
Occupational neurosis: A selective inhibition of the
performance of specific, usually highly skilled
actions, motor or mental, that are essential to a
subjects occupation. In the absence of organic
pathology. Examples are writers cramp, musicians
cramp, or accountants sudden difficulty with
mental arithmetic. Such dysfunction is usually a
manifestation of an underlying anxiety state, and
the term with its implication of an independent
status for the disorder, should be avoided.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Occupational psychiatry: Area of psychiatry concerned

with mental illness in industry, including the
psychiatric aspects of absenteeism, vocational
adjustment, operational fatigue, and accident
Occupational psychology: The use of psychological
knowledge and principles in the study of people at
work, or in any productive occupation. Occupational psychology and industrial psychology are
closely linked, but occupational psychology has a
wider range than just the study of people in
industrial situations, as it includes such occupations as that of housewife, novelist, and unemployed person.
Occupational therapy: A form of therapy in which the
patient engages in useful, purposeful activities in
a therapeutic social setting involving interaction
with other patients and hospital personnel.
Oceanic feeling: Phrase used by Romain Rolland in a
letter to Freud to describe the mystical, cosmic
emotion which (according to Roland) is the true
source of religious sentiments.
Oedipus complex: Constellation of feelings, impulses,
and conflicts in the developing child that concern
sexual impulses and attraction toward the oppositesex parent and aggressive, hostile, or envious feelings toward the same-sex parent. Real or fantasied
threats from the same-sex parent result in the
repression of those feelings. The development of
the Oedipus complex coincides with the phallic
phase of psychosexual development. One of
Freuds most important concepts, the term was
originally applied only to the male. See also Electra
complex. Totem and Taboo.
Oligophrenia: Mental retardation.
Omission of reinforcement/omission training: An
instrumental conditioning/operant conditioning
procedure in which positive reinforcement is
withdrawn following a response. The effect of this
procedure is to decrease the likelihood of the


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

response which leads to removal of positive reinforcement, compare punishment, negative reinforcement.
Omnipotence: Omnipotent phantasies are phantasies
that the subject is omnipotent. Omnipotence of
thought refers to the belief that thoughts can of
themselves alter the external world.
Onanism: Coitus interruptus: The term is sometimes
used interchangeably with masturbation.
Oneiromancy: Divination by means of dreams; not to
be confused with dream interpretation which makes
no claim to be predictive and uses the dream solely
as evidence of the dreamers state of mind. Oneirology is a rarely used word for the scientific study
of dreams.
Oneirophrenia: A syndrome described as occurring in
acute schizophrenic illness, with some clouding of
consciousness and dream-like (oneiroid) state with
vivid scenic hallucinosis, catatonic features and
diminished contact with the real world. Comment:
The claim for an independent status of this
syndrome has not found general support. The term
was first introduced by Mayer Gross in 1924 (as
oneiroid state) and then used in 1945 by Meduna
and McCulloch. See also: dream-like state.
One-trial learning: A very rapid form of learning,
through classical conditioning, in which just one
experience or event is sufficient for a lasting learned
association to occur. Most examples of one-trial
learning have to do with food or pain, and are thus
regarded as linked to very basic survival mechanisms. If consumption of a specific food is followed
by vomiting, or if contact with a specific stimulus
is followed by a painful experience, then a strong
avoidance behaviour will result which is highly
resistant to extinction. The forms of one trial
learning that are specific to the species and which
seem to have a biological basis are examples of
prepared learning. One-trial learning has also been
associated with instances of superstitious learning.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Ontogenetic: Pertaining to the development of an

individual person. See also Phylogenetic.
Open hospital: Mental hospital without locked doors
or physical restraints.
Open system: A system which is open to receive energy
or information. Open systems are therefore able to
develop, and will tolerate new structures within
them, as opposed to a closed system.
Operant: Any unit of behaviour which has an effect (of
any kind) on the environment. Also known as
operant behaviour, it is the basis of the conditioning
of voluntary behaviour. Unless behaviour which
has some kind of effect in the environment is
produced spontaneously, the law of effect cannot
come into play, and the behaviour will continue to
be emitted more or less randomly.
Operant chamber: A simple box often called a skinner
box, with a device which can be worked by an
animal in the box to control reinforcement.
Operant conditioning: A process of stimulus-response
learning of voluntary behaviour, which occurs as
a result of the consequence of actions produced
by an organism (animal or human being). The idea
is that the learning of an appropriate action or
operant is likely to be reinforced (strengthened). If
the increases the action is followed by a pleasant
consequence (see law of effect). This increases
the probability that the action will occur again.
Reinforcement in operant conditioning can be
positive or negative. If positive, the action is
directly rewarded; if negative, it is indirectly
rewarded by the removal or avoidance of something unpleasant. The other major class of conditioning is called classical conditioning. See also
primary and secondary reinforcement, reinforcement schedules, shaping.
Operant strength: This is a term used to describe how
strongly a response acquired through operant
conditioning has been learned. There are two main


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

measures of operant strength; resistance to

extinction and response rate.
Operations: Manipulations of objects or concepts. The
major use within psychology is in Piagets theory
which is largely about the different kinds of
cognitive operations, particularly logical manipulations, which are carried out by children at different
ages. See concrete operations and formal operations.
Operational definition: The meaning of a concept when
it is translated into terms amenable to systematic
observation and measurement, e.g., temperatures
defined by a thermometer reading under standard
Opponent-process theory: A hedonistic view of
motivation and emotion which says that many
emotional motivating states are followed by an
opposing, or opposite state. Compare drive theories, incentive theories and incentive motivation,
optimal-level theories.
Oppositional disorder: A mental disorder of childhood
that is characterized by pervasive negativism, continuous argumentativeness, and an unwillingness
to comply with reasonable suggestions and persuasion.
Oral: Appertaining to the mouth (a) Oral character
Character displayed by persons with fixations at
the oral stage. Typical oral character traits are
optimism and pessimism, generosity, moodiness,
depression, elation, talkativeness, greed and the
tendency to engage in wishful thinking (b) Oral
erotismSensuous please derived from the mouth
(c) Oral sadismPleasure in hurting by biting.
Pleasure in phantasies of biting and eating destructively (cannabilism) (d) Oral stageIn classical
theory of psychoanalysis, the first stage of both
libidinal development and ego development, in
which the mouth is the main source of pleasure
and hence the centre of experience.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Oral dyskinesia: See Tardive dyskinesia.

Oral phase: The earliest stage in psychosexual
development. It lasts through the first 18 months
of life. During this period the oral zone is the centre
of the infants needs, expression, and pleasurable
erotic experiences. It has a strong influence on the
organization and development of the childs
psyche. See also Anal phase, Genital phase,
Infantile sexuality, Latency phase, Phallic phase,
Psychosexual development.
Oral triad: Term used by Lewin (1946) for the conjoined
wishes to be suckled by, sleep with and be
devoured by the breast, wishes which, in his view
underlie the psychopathology of mania.
Order effect: An experimental effect which arises as a
result of the order in which two tasks are presented.
Order effects are of two main kinds: practice effects,
where the subject becomes more skilled are a given
task as a result of practice, and so performs better
in later conditions of the experiment: and fatigue
effects, where the subject becomes tired or bored
as the study progresses, and so performs worse in
later experimental conditions. See also counterbalancing.
Orectic: To do with desire or appetite. The term is only
likely to be encountered as an opposite of cognitive.
Organ neurosis: Used by psychoanalysts as a synonym
for psychosomatic disorders. It has also been used
for anxiety states in which the anxiety symptoms
have become restricted to one physical system,
e.g., cardiac neurosis, in which the anxiety symptoms
are held to be due to a cardiovascular disorder.
Organic brain syndrome (OBS): See Organic mental
Organic mental disorder: Mental disorder caused by
transient or permanent brain dysfunction attributable to specific organic factors. The organic mental
disorders include delirium, senile and presenile
dementias and substance-induced disorders.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Orgasm: The culminating-point in sexual intercourse,

the moment at which tension affects are replaced
by discharge affects. The word is occasionally used
to refer to an equivalent moment in pre-genital acts,
hence gastrointestinal orgasm for satiation of the
oral instinct; and by still further extension, pharmacotic orgasm (Rado 1933) for the response to
addictive drugs.
Orgasmic dysfunction: Failure to achieve orgasm
through physical stimulation.
Orientation: State of awareness of oneself and one
surrounding in terms of time, place, and person.
Orienting reflex: A set of physiological and behavioural changes which occur in response to an
unexpected stimulus which attracts the attention
of the individual. The orienting reflex includes a
positioning of the body towards the sound of other
stimulus, keeping the body very still, a dilation of
the blood vessels in the head, EEG changes and
alterations to muscle tone, heart rate and breathing.
This combination of physiological changes means
that the individual is more prepared to receive the
stimulus. The opposite pattern, when a stimulus is
being excluded, is called the defensive reflex.
Origence: A personality characteristic of creative thinkers; resistance to conformity and an emphasis on
individualized interpretation and expression are
features of this personality dimension.
Orthodox sleep: Ordinary, quiescent sleep which does
not involve rapid eye movements (REM), or the
experience of dreaming. Orthodox sleep occurs at
lightly or deeply asleep, and which each show characteristic RRG patterns. Stage 1 sleep is entered
first, and is the lightest form of sleep with a fairly
regular EEG pattern. Some dreaming may take place
during this stage. The sleeper then progresses
through the stages to the deepest level of stage 4
in which the EEG is very irregular with large spikes.
In this stage it is very difficult to awaken the sleeper

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


and in children, bed-wetting, night terrors and

sleepwalking my occur. The pattern changes
through the period of sleeping. See sleep cycles.
Orthodox sleep is also called NREM (non rapid
eye movement) sleep. See also paradoxical sleep.
Orthophrenia: Soundness of mind; also the curing of
a disordered mind.
Orthopsychiarty: An interdisciplinary approach to the
study and practice of maintaining or restoring
mental health. It involves principles derived from
psychiatry, psychology, sociology, social work,
medicine, and other fields. Particular emphasis is
placed on preventive techniques to promote healthy
mental development and growth; the essential
focus is on metal hygiene. See also Mental Hygiene.
Osphresisophilia: Morbid attraction to or interest in
odours and smells.
Othello syndrome (morbid jealousy): Delusion of
infidelity on part of sexual partner. Normal phenomena are interpreted to fit in with conviction. The
common causes are alcoholism, organic psychosis,
schizophrenia, obsession personality etc.
Other-directed person: A person who is readily influenced and guided by the attitudes and values of
other people. See also Inner-directed person.
Overanxious disorder: An anxiety disorder of childhood
or adolescence characterized by excessive worrying
and fearful behaviour that is grossly disproportionate to the magnitude of the real environmental
stress or threat.
Overcompensation: A conscious or unconscious
process in which a real or imagined physical or
psychologic deficit generates exaggerated correction. Concept introduced by Adler.
Overdetermination: The concept that phenomena
which as dreams and neurotic symptoms reflect
the operation of multiple causative factors, particularly with regard to symbolic meaning or significance.

Over-extension: The tendency, found particularly in

young children acquiring a language, to apply
words too widely, e.g., calling all men Daddy.
Over-homosexuality: Behaviourally expressed
homosexuality, as distinct from unconscious
homosexual wishes or conscious wishes that are
held in check. See also Homosexuality, Latent
Overvalued idea: An unreasonable and sustained belief
or idea that is maintained with less than delusional
intensity. It differs from an obsess ional thought in
that the person holding the overvalued idea does
not recognize its absurdity and thus does not
struggle against it. As with a delusion, the idea or
belief is not one that is ordinarily accepted by other
members of the persons culture or subculture.
Example: A patient with a long-standing handwashing compulsion thought there might be
danger in shaking hands with people, because
they might have recently been inculcated
against smallpox and be infectious. Although
she acknowledged that the danger might not
be real, she could not accept reassurances that
there was medically no danger.

Paired-associate learning: A learning task which
involves the association, or linking together, of
two stimuli, usually words. This form of learning
task was extremely popular in the study of memory
throughout the 1950s and 1960s, but of recent years
has been criticized for its artificiality.
Pairing: Presenting two stimuli in such a way that they
always occur together.
Palinopsia: It is the persistence or recurrence of visual
images after the stimulus object has been removed.
It may occur in patients in delirious states that
follows metabolic abnormalities resulting from
hepatic or renal failure, anoxia, infection, drug
intoxication or withdrawal and also in dementia,
schizophrenia and manic depressive psychosis.
Pandemonium model: A hierarchical model of cognition,
first proposed in the late 1960s, which an interesting
example of bottom-up processing. It has been
mainly concerned with feature-recognition in
perception, and the way in which the identification
of features can be combined to result in meaningful
percepts. The model proposes a hierarchical organization of subdemons, cognitive demons and
decision demons. There are myriads of subdemons, each of which is tuned into detecting
specific aspects of a stimulus, such as specific
letters in a word. When a stimulus occurs, the


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

appropriate sub-demon shrieks. The more similar

the stimulus is to the demons template, the louder
it shrieks. The decision demon at the next level in
the hierarchy is faced with the task of deciding
which the shrieking-subdemons best represents
the stimulus, taking into account other shrieking
subdemons responding to subsequent stimuli
(hence the name of pandemonium model). As the
overall picture becomes more complex, general
cognitice emons come into action, which operate
at a higher level, and represent complete concepts
or schemata. Because of the idea of competition
between the demons at each level, this model is
well able to cope with the explanation of our
response to ambiguous stimuli but some consider
it to be weak in explaining some of the more general
aspects of active cognition.
Panic: An acute, intense attack of anxiety associated
with personality disorganization. The anxiety is
overwhelming and accompanied by feelings of
impending doom. See also aspects of active cognition.
Panic attack: An episode of acute intense anxiety
occurring in panic disorder, schizophrenia, major
depression, and somatization disorder.
Panphobia: Fear of everything.
Pantomine: Gesticulation; psychodrama without the
use of words.
Papez circuit: A neural circuit identified in 1957 by the
neuroanatomist J.W. Papez. It consists of the
mammillary bodies in the hypothalamus, anterior
thalamus, cingulated gyrus, entorhinal cortex,
hippocampus and their interconnecting fibers. It
is believed to be important in mediating emotional
experience and behaviour. (Fig. 10)

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences



Reticular System
Sensory Pathways
Thalamocortical Projections
Pathways to Associational
Area of Cortex

Fig. 10.

Paradox: A situation in which two or more rules combine

to give an impossible outcome, like the Cretan who
said all Cretans are liars. Paradoxes have been
much studied in logic and mathematics but for
psychologists the chief interest is in those that
trap people into apparently crazy behaviour. See
double bind for an example. Some therapists believe
that many symptoms result from paradoxes in the
persons life and so are best treated with a counterparadox designed to free them. A common example
would be to instruct the person to have their uncontrollable symptoms at a particular time. If they
have the symptom then it shows they can control
it. If they do not have the symptom it shows the
symptoms can be prevented, i.e., it is constrollable.
As with any other powerful therapeutic technique,
paradoxical injunctions can be ineffective and
potentially harmful unless they are used with respect and sympathetic understanding for the patient.
Paradoxical sleep: A name given to the type of sleep in
which rapid eye movements occur (it is also called
REM sleep), during which dreaming occurs. It was
named paradoxical in the 1960s as a result of the
discovery that EEG patterns shown in this type of
sleep suggested that the sleeper was only lightly
sleeping and would wake easily; whereas in reality
they proved very difficult to wake by some stimuli
(like loud noises) but easy to waken by more
meaningful events like having their name spoken.
See also sleep cycles; orthodox sleep.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Paralanguage: The non-verbal cues which are used

during speech, and include speech sounds, such
as er and um the timing of utterances or inflection
and accents. Paralanguage is an important part of
communication through speech, but provides
information independently the actual verbal
aspects of the communication. A measure of the
importance of paralanguage to speech is the way
that in written language, punctuation is needed to
substitute for the additional information normally
added through tones of voice or pauses.
Parallel processing: The processing of information in
such a way that more than one set of operations is
happening simultaneously. Models of parallel
processing were introduced to cognitive psychology in an attempt to account for the extremely
rapid ways in which people can search for information, taking several features into account apparently all at the same time.
Parameter: Any quantitative value that a variable can
Parametric study: One which examines the effects on
a dependent variable of variations, usually across
a broad range, in the value of the independent
Parametric tests of significance: Tests based on the
assumption that the form of the distribution of the
observations is known, usually a so-called normal
distribution, widely used tests based on such as
assumption include analysis of variance, t-test, and
Pearsonian correlation coefficients.
Paramnesia: Disturbance of memory in which reality
and fantasy are confused. It is observed in dreams
and in certain types of schizophrenia and organic
mental disorders. It includes phenomena such as
dj vu and deja entendu, which may occur
occasionally in normal persons. See also confabulation, Jamais vu.
Paranoia: A rare condition characterized by the gradual
development of an intricate, complex, and elaborate

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


system of thinking based on (and often proceeding

logically from) misinterpretation of an actual event.
A person with paranoia often considers himself
endowed with unique and superior ability. Despite
its chronic course, this condition does not seem to
interfere with thinking and personality. To be
distinguished from schizophrenia, paranoid type.
Paranoia conjugal: Paranoia characterized by delusions
of jealously. With no evidence or with irrelevant
evidence, a spouse or a lover becomes convinced
that his or her partner is being unfaithful.
Paranoia querulans: A state characterized by a
quarrelsome irritability associated with a conviction
of injustice and persecution, some times of delusional intensity, arising from real or imaginary
wrongs, insults or injuries, and often leading to
incessant litigation. Synonym: litigious paranoia.
Paranoiac: A person with paranoia.
Paranoid delusion: See delusion.
Paranoid disorder: A mental disorder characterized by
persecutory or grandiose delusions and related
disturbances in mood, thought, and behaviour. In
DSM-III the paranoid disorders include paranoia,
shared paranoid disorder, acute paranoid disorder,
and a typical paranoid disorder.
Paranoid ideation: Thinking that is dominated by
suspicious persecutory, or grandiose content.
Paranoid personality disorder: A personality disorder
characterized by rigidity, hypersensitivity, unwarranted suspicion, jealousy, envy, an exaggerated
sense of self-importance, and tendency to blame
and ascribe evil motives to others.
Paranoid schizophrenia: A schizophrenic disorder
characterized by the presence of persecutory or
grandiose delusions often accompanied by hallucinations.
Paraphasia: Type of abnormal speech in which one
word it substituted for another; the irrelevant word
generally resembles the required one in its morpho-


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

logy, meaning, or phonetic composition. The

inappropriate word may be either a legitimate one
used incorrectly, such as clover instead of train
or a bizarre nonsense expression. Such as treen
instead of train. Paraohasic speech may be seen
in organic aphasias and in mental disorders, such
as schizophrenia. See also Metonymy, Neologism,
Word approximation.
Paraphilia: Type of psychosexual disorder. The term
refers to sexual deviation characterized by persistent and recurrent sexual fantasies, often of an
unusual nature, without which imagery erotic
arousal or orgasm is not attained. The fantasies
generally involve themes of suffering, humiliation,
sexual activity with nonconsenting partners, or
preference for a nonhuman object for sexual
arousal. The paraphilias include fetishism, transvestism, zoophilia, pedophilia, exhibitionism,
voyeurism, sexual masochism, and sexual sadism.
Parapraxis: A faulty act, blunder, or lapse of memory
such as a slip of the tongue or misplacement of an
article. According to Freud, these acts are caused
by unconscious motives.
Paraprofessional: A nonprofessionally trained person
who works in a mental hospital. The paraprofessional may have a degree in the arts or from
some professional school other than those serving
the mental health group but has not obtained a
degree in one of the usual mental health professions.
Parapsychology: Branch of psychology that deals with
extranormal events and behavioural phenomena
that are not accounted for or explained by the tenets
and laws of present-day conventional science.
Examples include clairvoyance, precognition,
telepathy, and psychokinesis. See also extrasensory perception. Metapsychology, Psychokinesis.
Parataxic distortion: Sullivans term for distortions in
judgement or attitude in interpersonal relations

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


based on patterns set by earlier experience.

Previously developed ways of coping with significant people in a persons life are applied by the
person in later interpersonal integrations. See also
Parathymia: A schizophrenic distortion of mood in
which the affective state is inappropriate to the
patients circumstances and /or behaviour. See also
incongruity of affect; mood, inappropriate; mood,
Parens patriae: In the context of mental illness, this
term refers to the constitutional power of the state
to involuntarily commit those mentally ill persons
who are in need of care and treatment for their
mental illness.
Paresis: Weakness of organic origin; incomplete
paralysis; term often used instead of general
Paresthesia: Abnormal tactile sensation, often described as burning, picking, tickling, tingling, or
Partial hospitalization: A system of treating mental
illness in which the patient is hospitalized on a
part-time basis. See also Day hospital, Night
hospital, weekend hospital.
Partial reinforcement: Reinforcement in a operant
conditioning process which is not given every time
the desired behaviour is shown, but only some of
the time. This is also known as intermittent reinforcement, and produces a somewhat slower but
stronger form of learning which is more resistant
to extinction. See also reinforcement schedules.
Partial insanity: See Monomania.
Participant observation: A research technique in which
the research takes a full role in the group being
studied, often without the knowledge of the other
members. In this way the distortion produced by
the presence of an observer is minimized, and the
researcher can obtain a fuller appreciation of the
experiences of the group. See observational study.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Passive-aggressive personality disorder: A research

technique in which the research takes a full role in
the group being studied, often without the knowledge of the other members. In this way the distortion produced by the presence of an observer is
minimized, and the researcher can obtain a fuller
appreciation of the experiences of the group. See
observational study.
Passive therapist: Therapist who remains inactive but
whose presence serves as a stimulus for the patient
in the group or individual treatment setting. See
also active therapist, Nondirective approach.
Pastoral counseling: Use of psychotherapeutic principles by a clergyman helping parishioners with
emotional problems.
Pathobiology: Psychoanalytical study of a historical
character based on the available biographical
evidence and not on direct clinical observation.
This genre, of which Freuds Leonardo da Vinci is
a good example and Freud and Bullits study of
Wilson (1967) a bad one, suffers from the grave
limitation that one of the clinical criteria of correct
interpretation, the patients (ultimate) agreement
with it, is not forthcoming.
Pathognomonic: Term applied to a sign or symptom
specifically diagnostic of a particular disease entity.
Pathological gambling: Compulsion to gamble. It is
one of the disorders of impulse control.
Pattern perception: The way in which different perceptual features of shapes or figures are recognized
as belonging together and forming a pattern of
stimuli, rather that being separate and discrete.
Without pattern perception, our subjective experience would be simply of patches of light and dark
or of patches of colour, without any linking of the
stimuli into meaningful units. The basis of pattern
perceptions is figure-ground organization the
inherent tendency for our perpetual system to
organize sensory data into meaningful figures set

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


against backgrounds. This organizational principle

results in pattern perceptions, and is evident in
the perception of other sensory modes, such as
music or speech perception, which, involve pattern
perception in linking and distinguishing the
different components of the information.
Pavlovian conditioning: Respondent conditioning. See
Pavlov, Ivon Petrovich (18491936): Russian neurophysiologist noted for his research on conditioning. Awarded Nobel Prize in Medicine (1904).
Pavlovs theory of schizophrenia: A theory propounded
by Pavlov, who held that the symptoms of
schizophrenia are the result of a state of inhibition
of the cerebral cortex.
Pavor nocturnes: See Night-terror.
Peak experience: The rare experience of feeling for a
moment complete and at one with oneself and the
world. Maslow regarded peak experiences as
important, but not essential, aspects of self
Pecking order: Hierarchy or sequence of authority in
an organization or social group.
Pederasty: Homosexual anal intercourse between men
and boys with the latter as the passive partners.
The term is used less precisely to denote male
homosexual anal intercourse.
Pedophillia: A paraphilia involving sexual activity of
adults with children as the objects. It may involve
any form of heterosexual or homosexual intercourse.
Peer group: A small group of friends or associates who
share common values, interests and activities. Also,
used for virtually all persons of the same age e.g.,
school tend to be age-graded.
Peer review: Review of physician services by a panel
of other physicians. See also Professional standards Review Organization. Utilization review committee.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Penetrance: In genetics, the frequency with which

genes for a particular trait are actually expressed in
the phenotype of those possessing them.
Penis and Phallus: Strictly speaking, the penis is an
anatomical term referring to the male generative
organ, the phallus, an anthropological and theological term referring to the idea or image of the male
generative organ i.e., the penis is an organ with
biological functions, the phallus is an idea venerated in various religions as a symbol of the power
of nature. Hence Jungs (probably apocryphal)
remark that the penis is only aphallic symbol. Boys
are said to go through a Phallic Phase during which
they are not only preoccupied with the penis but
also with the idea of potency, virility, manliness
and strength and power generally.
Penis Awe: Term used by Phyllis Greenacre to describe
the emotion evoked by the sight of the penis in
certain patients, some of whom describe is an being
surrounded by a halo.
Penis envy: Envy of the penis occurring either in women
in respect of men generally or in boys in respect of
adult males. According to Freud, penis envy is
universal in women, is responsible for their castration complex and occupies a central position in the
psychology of women.
Peotillomania: False masturbation, pseudo masturbation; a nervous tic consisting in constant pulling
at the penis.
Percept: The conscious awareness of element in the
environment by the mental processing of sensory
stimuli. The term is sometimes used in a broader
sense to refer to the mental process by which all
kinds of data- intellectual and emotional, as well as
sensory-are organized meaningfully. See also
Apperception, Hallucination, Illusion.
Perceptual constancy: The way that a persons perception adjusts itself so that the world is seen as
constant, despite the changes in stimulation

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


produced at the sense organs. The perceptual

constancies enable us to perceive events more
accurately in terms away they are. There are many
forms of perceptual constancy, of which the most
studied have been size constancy, shape constancy,
colour constancy, and location constancy.
Perceptual defence: The idea that the perceptual system
is more likely to receive information which is not
threatening, and has higher thresholds for
perceiving information which is challenging or
threatening to the individual, meaning that such
information is less likely to be detected or recognized.
Perceptual set: A state of readiness or preparedness to
perceive certain kinds of information rather than
other kinds. Perceptual set is a powerful phenomenon, which links closely with selective attention
and which can be affected by arrange of circumstances, such as prior experience, emotion,
motivation, culture and habit.
Perfectionism: Practice of demanding of other or of
oneself a higher quality of performance than is
required by the situation.
Period prevalence: Research term for the total number
of cases of a disease known to have existed during
a specified time period. See also Point prevalence.
Perplexity: Persistent repetition of words, ideas, or
subjects so that, once an individual begins
speaking about a particular subject or uses a
particular work, it continually recurs. Perseveration
differs from the repetitive use of stock words or
interjections such as you know or like. Perseveration is most commonly seen in Organic Mental
Disorders, Schizophrenia, and other psychotic
Person perception: The application of methods for
studying and understanding perception to the
perception of people. Person perception is
fundamental in the process of understanding other


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

people, and often, by implication, ourselves. It has

been found to have the usual features of perception
when its operating in conditions in which the object
is complex and the conditions are difficult. That is,
it is highly influenced by set and expectations, and
by the needs, fears and wishes of the observer.
Person perception is an active and highly researched area within psychology, involving the study
of attribution; of non-verbal communication; of
interpersonal attitudes; and social memory.
Personal constructs: A unique set of ideas about the
world and the people in it, which each individual
develops and uses to make sense of the world,
and to function effectively in it. Personal constructs were proposed by George Kelly (1955) as
the individual theories which people use to
generated hypotheses in order to explain their
experience Kellys model of the person was of man
as-scientist that the person was actively making
sense of the world by formulating hypotheses
about it, and then testing them, much as a scientist
investigates their chosen subject area. By identifying the special, personal set of constructs which
the individual uses, a therapist would be far better
placed to understand that person and to assist
them with their problems in living. Kellys was thus
an idiographic theory, concerned with the uniqueness of the individual and how he understood his
world. The form of assessment known as the
repertory grid, which Kelly developed, allows the
therapist to utilize the individuals own constructs
in analyzing their experience.
Personal space: The distance which people keep
between themselves and others during everyday
activities. The distance will vary depending on the
individuals culture, on the circumstances, and on
their relationship with the other person; we tend
to position ourselves more closely to intimate
friends than we do to strangers. Personal space is
a manifestation of proxemics, and an important

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


non-verbal cue; it is often described in terms of

Personality: Characteristic configuration of behaviourresponse patterns that each person evolves as a
reflection of his individual adjustment to life.
Personality, dependent: A personality disorder, with or
without asthenic features, with a low degree of
self-esteem, a persistent tendency to avoid the
assumption of responsibility, and an inclination to
subordinate personal drives to those of other
people. See also: asthenic personality disorder.
Personality disorder: Mental disorder characterized by
inflexible, deeply ingrained, maladaptive patterns
of adjustment to life that cause either subjective
distress or significant impairment of adaptive
functioning. The manifestations are generally
recognizable in adolescence or earlier. The types
of personality disorders include paranoid, schizoid,
schizotypal, histrionic, narcissistic, antisocial,
borderline, avoidant, dependent, compulsive,
passive-aggressive, and atypical.
Personality disorder, affective: A condition characterized by lifelong predominance of a pronounced
mood which may be persistently depressive,
persistently elated, or alternately one then the
other. During periods of elation there is unshakable
optimism and an enhanced zest for life and activity,
whereas periods of depression area marked by
worry, pessimism, low output of energy and a sense
of futility. Such individuals are prone to manic
depressive psychosis but it does not occur inevitably. Synonym: cycloid personality; cyclothymic
personality; depressive personality; dysthymic
personality; hyperthymic personality.
Personality disorder, anankastic: A lifelong pattern of
personality organization characterized by feeling
of personal insecurity, doubt and incompleteness
leading to excessive conscientiousness, stubbornness and caution. There may be insistent and
unwelcome thoughts or impulses which do not


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

attain the severity of an obsessive compulsive

disorder. There is perfectionism and meticulous
accuracy and a need to check repeatedly in an
attempt to ensure this. Rigidity and excessive doubt
may be conspicuous. Synonym: compulsive personality, obsessional personality.
Personality disorder, asthenic: Personality disorder
characterized by passivity and a weak or inadequate
response to the demands of daily life. Lack of
vigour may show itself in the intellectual or
emotional spheres; there is little capacity for
enjoyment. Synonyms: inadequate personality;
passive personality.
Personality, explosive: Personality disorder characterized by instability of mood with liability intemperate outbursts of anger, hate, violence or affection. Aggression may be expressed in words or in
physical violence. The outbursts cannot readily
be controlled by the affected person, who is not
otherwise prone to antisocial behaviour. Synonyms:
aggressive personality; emotional instability
Personality disorder, hysterical: A personality pattern
characterized by shallow, labile affectivity, dependency on others, craving for appreciation and
attention, suggestibility and theatricality. There is
often sexual immaturity, e.g., frigidity, and overresponsiveness to stimuli. Under stress, hysterical
symptoms (neurosis) may develop. Synonyms:
histrionic personality; psycho infantile personality.
Personality disorder, schizoid: Personality disorder in
which there is withdrawal from affection, and social
and other contacts, with autistic preference for
fantasy and introspective reserve. Behaviour may
be slightly eccentric or indicate avoidance of competitive situations. Apparent coolness and detachment may mask as incapacity to express feeling.
Personality disorder with predominantly sociopathic
or a social manifestations: Personality disorder
characterized by disregard for social obligations,

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


lack of feeling for others, and impetuous or callous

unconcern. There is a gross disparity between
behaviour and the prevailing social norms.
Behaviour is not readily modifiable by experience,
including punishment. People with this personality
are often affectively could and may be abnormally
aggressive or irresponsible. Their tolerance to
frustration is low; they blame others or offer
plausible rationalizations for the behaviour which
brings them into conflict with society. Synonyms:
amoral personality; antisocial personality disorder;
a social personality; moral insanity; socio pathic
Personality dynamics: An approach to understanding
behaviour in terms of the active interplay of aspects
of the personality structure. Freuds account of
personality in terms of interactions between the
id, ego, and super-ego is the classic example.
Personality eccentric: A personality disorder characterized by an overvalued private system of beliefs
or habits which are exaggerated in nature, sometimes fantastic and held with fanatical conviction.
Personality fanatic: A personality pattern dominated
by overvalued ideas that are held tenaciously and
may be extensively elaborated without qualifying
for delusional status. Individuals may pursue their
idea combatively in defiance of social norms or
adopt more private, often eccentric ways of life.
Personality hyperthymic: A variant of personality
characterized by cheerfulness and high level of
activity without the morbid overtones of hypomania. Hyperthymia and dysthymia constitute the
cyclothymic personality type which is associated
with manic-depressive disease. See also affective
personality disorder.
Personality immature: A personality disorder characterized by conduct and emotional response that
suggest a failure or lag in psychobiological development. A constitutional basis for this anomaly has


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

been suggested by electroencephalographic abnormality in the form of slow, paroxysmal theta or delta
wave activity, mostly in the temporooccipital areas
of the brain, which is commonly associated with
behavioural disorders of children and criminals.
The validity of this correlation is not universally
Personality, multiple: A rare condition in which an
individual exhibits two or more relatively separate,
alternating personalities. Dissociation, suggestibility, and role playing are all regarded as psychopatholigically significant factors in the genesis of the
disorder. It is usually viewed as hysterical but has
been reported in organic states, especially epilepsy.
Personality, passive-aggressive: A personality disorder
characterized by a pattern of aggressive feelings
expressed covertly by various forms of passivity,
e.g., stubbornness, sullenness, or procrastinating
or inefficient or inefficient behaviour.
Personality, psychasthenic: A form of personality
disorder characterized by an asthenic physique, a
low level of energy, a proneness to fatigue, lassitude, lack of conative drive, and sometimes an over
sensitivity associated with obsessional traits,
Comment: The term drives from the concept of
neurasthenia, introduced by Beard in 1869.
Personality traits: Features of an individuals personality. Traits are descriptive terms that are within
normal limits.
Personology: Term borrowed by Marjorie Brierley from
General Smuts to describe the study of the personality not as an obstruction or bundle of psychological abstractions, but rather as a vital organism,
as the organic psychic whole which par excellence
it is (smuts) and used by her to distinguish the
science of personality from Metapsychology, the
two differing in that the former retains the person
and his experience while the latter conceives of it as
the result of the interaction of personal structures.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Pervasive developmental disorder: A disorder characterized by severe distortions in the development

of social skills, language, and contact with reality.
Many psychological functions are involved, and
a child with a pervasive developmental disorder
displays abnormalities that are not normal for any
stage of development. Infantile autism is a pervasive developmental disorder. See also Specific developmental disorder.
Perversion: Deviation from the expected norm. In
psychiatry, it commonly signifies sexual perversion. See also Psychosexual disorder.
Perverted logic: See Evasion.
Phallic overbearance: Domination of another person
by aggressive means. It is generally associated
with masculinity in the negative aspects.
Phallic phase: The third stage in psychosexual
development. It follows the anal stage and last from
about age 2 or 3 to about age 6. During this period,
sexual interest, curiosity, and pleasurable experiences are centered on the penis in boys and the
clitoris in girls. The resolution of Oedipus complex
is the dominant developmental conflict during this
stage; it is thus also referred to an Oedipal stage.
See also Anal phase, Genital phase, Infantile sexuality, Latency phase, Oral phase, Psychosexual
Phantasy: See Fantasy.
Phantom limb: False sensation that an extremity that
has been lost is, in fact, present.
Phenomenology: The study of events or happenings
in their own right, rather than from the point of
view of inferred causes. It is associated with existential psychiatry and reflects the theory that
behaviour is determined by the way the person
perceives reality, rather than by external reality in
objective terms. The word came into use in philosophy after publication of Hegels phenomenology of the spirit.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Phenomenon, Napalkov: (A.V. Napalkov, Russian

neurophysiologist). In exception to the usual;
conditioned reflex experiments occurring in some
phobic patients in which the conditioning stimulus
(e.g., a traumatic event) does not immediately
produce a fear reaction; instead the fear increases
in time rather than being extinguished as it
ordinarily would during exposure to the unreinforced conditioning stimulus.
Phenotype: The outward, observable expression of
persons genetic constitution. See also Genotype.
Pheromone: Chemical signal that a person releases into
the external environment and that affects the
behaviour or physiological states of other persons.
Phi phenomenon: An illusion of movement brought
about by the sequencing in illumination of adjacent
lights. If one light comes on when the other goes
off, and the light next to it goes on when that goes
off, what is perceived (assuming it happens
reasonable quickly) is an impression of one light
moving across from the location of the first one to
the location of the last. This phenomenon is widely
used in illuminated advertising signs, and can
sometimes be very convincing. Should the lights
be arranged in a circle, the perceived circular motion
is seen as describing a circle of smaller diameter
than the actual arrangement of the lights. It is
thought that the phi phenomenon is a manifestation of the Gestalt psychologists principle of
closure occurring with dynamic stimuli rather than
with static ones.
Phobia: An obsessive, persistent, unrealistic, intense
fear of an object or situation. The fear is believed
to arise through a process of displacing an internal
(unconscious) conflict to an external object
symbolically related to the conflict. See also
displacement. Some of the common phobias are
(add abnormal fear of to each entry):
achluophobia: Darkness.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


acrophobia: Heights.
agoraphobia: Open spaces or leaving the familiar
setting of the home.
ailurophobia: Cats.
algophobia: Pain
androphobia: Men
autophobia: Being alone or solitude.
bathophobia: Depths.
claustrophobia: Dogs.
erythrophobia: Blusing; sometimes used to refer
to the blushing itself.
gynophobia: Women.
hypnophobia: Sleep.
mysophobia: Dirt and germs.
panphobia: Everything.
pedophobia: Children.
xenophobia: Strangers.
Phobic disorder: An anxiety disorder characterized by
intense specific fear of an object or situation. It is
also called phobic neurosis. Phobic disorder is
frequent in childhood. In DSM the phobic
disorders include agoraphobia with and without
panic attacks, social phobia, and simple phobia.
Phoneme: A basic unit of spoken language; a speech
sound. Phonemes are not the same as syllables: a
one-syllable word, like cat for instance, is made
up of three distinct phonemes, which are combined
to produce the syllable, or morpheme.
Phonemics: The study of regularities and distinctive
patterns in the combination of phonemes in spoken
Phrenology: The study of the bony conformation of
the skull in the belief that it is related to mental
faculties and traits.
Phyloanalysis: Term adopted by Trigant Burrow to
describe type of behaviour analysis conducted in
groups. Burrow was a pioneer in the study of human


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

behaviour in groups, but his chief interest was in

understanding human evolutionary status, rather
than in developing techniques of group psychotherapy. Because the earlier term for his work,
group analysis led to confusion with analytic
group psychotherapy, Burrow dropped the term
and spoke, instead, of phyloanalysis.
Phylogenetic: Pertaining to the development of the
species. See also Ontogenetic.
Physical disorder: A disorder of body function whose
manifestations are not primarily behavioural or
Physiological correlate: A physical change which
accompanies a behavioural or psychological response. The term is used to avoid making assumptions about causality. It may be recognized, for
instance, that a cognitive event such as concentration or sleep is accompanied by physiological
correlated is adopted as a description.
Physiological need: Identified by Maslow as ebbing
the lowest level in his hierarchy of needs; physiological need are the requirements for physical
functioning, such as the needs for food, water, etc.
Physiological psychology: The study of the way in
which human behaviour and cognition are
influenced or performed by processes which take
place physically within the body. The term physiological is preferred to biological because such
influences are usually exerted by whole systems
of physical functioning operating together, such
as is demonstrated in the fight or flight response,
or the sensory information processing systems.
Physiological psychology is often seen as being
inherently reductionist as it explains behaviour in
terms of the actions of neurons and chemicals, but
many physiological psychologists maintain an
interactions approach to the subject, in which
physiological factors are sent as contributing to
or influencing behaviour, but necessarily determining it.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Piaget, Jean (18961980): Swiss psychologist noted

for his research on cognitive development in
children. Piaget divided the development of intelligence into three major periods: sensorimotor (birth
to 2 years), concrete operations (2 to 12 years),
and formal operations (12 to through adult life).
See also categorical thought, Formal operations,
syncretic thought.
Piblokto: A culture-specific syndrome seen in Eskimos,
usually women. The affected person screams, cries,
and runs naked through the snow, sometimes with
suicidal or homicidal tendencies.
Pica: An eating disorder consisting of the cravind and
eating of unusual foods or other substances. Seem
in variety of medical conditions, pregnancy, and
emotional disturbances.
Pickwickian syndrome: Condition characterized by
obesity, hypoventilation, and hypersomnia.
Pilomotor response: The response of the hair of the
body standing on end at times of extreme fear or
rage. In many animals, this forms an impressive
signal, resulting in the animal looking much larger
and, presumably, more fearsome to a would-be
attacker. It is also sometimes used to fluff-up the
hair to provide added protection from cold. In
human being, owing to the shortness and nearinvisibility of much body hair, the pilomotor
response simply results in the skin appearance
known as goose-pimples, as the contraction of the
small muscle at the base of each hair pulls the
surrounding skin into a small bump.

Fig. 11. The pilomotor response.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Pinel, Philippe (17461826): French reformer in the

field of mental illness. He is known for his work in
abolishing physical restrains on hospitalized
Placebo: An inactive substance or preparation that is
given as though it were pharmacologically active
medicine. Its major use is in controlled studies to
determine the efficacy of medicinal preparations;
any beneficial or deleterious effects of the placebo
may be ascribed to psychological factors. The term
may also refer to any type of treatment that has no
specific effects on the particular illness involved.
Placebo, active: The presence or absence of side effects
may allow the patient to identify whether he is
receiving drug or placebo (for example, dry mouth
may be associated with chlorpromazine). An active
placebo is one which may mimic the side effects,
but does not have the specific and assumed
therapeutic pharmacologic action of the drug under
Placebo effect: Phenomenon in which a person exhibits
a clinically significant response to a pill containing
a therapeutically inert substance or a treatment
without specific effect on the persons condition.
Placebo effects are not limited to subjective reports;
physiological functions may be objectively influenced.
Play therapy: A type of therapy used with children in
which the child reveals his problems on a fantasy
level with dolls, clay, and other toys. The therapist
intervenes opportunely with helpful explanations
about the patients response and behaviour in
language geared to the childs comprehension. See
also Activity group therapy.
Pleasure principle: In psychoanalysis, the principle
by which the id seeks immediate tension reduction
by either direct or fantasied gratification. It is also
known as the pleasure-pain principle. Developmentally, the pleasure principle antedates the
reality principle. See also Reality principle.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Pleonexia: A psychiatric disorder in which the patient

has an excessive desire to acquire wealth or objects.
Pluralism: In psychiatry, the notion that multiple factors
affect behaviour.
Point prevalence: Research term for the total number
of cases of a disease known to have existed at a
given point of time. See also Period prevalence.
Polymorphous perverse sexuality: Psychoanalytic
conceptualization of sexuality in the human infant,
for whom sexual gratification can be achieved by
homosexual, heterosexual, or inanimate stimulation
of several body zones. All humans, therefore, have
the potential to develop sexual perversions in
adulthood, depending on how the sexual drives
are channeled developmentally.
Polyphagia: Pathologic overeating. Also known as
Polysomnography: The all-night recording of a variety
of physiologic parameters (e.g., brain waves, eye
movements, muscle tonus, respiration, heart rate,
penile tumescence) in order to diagnose sleep
related disorders.
Positive regard: Linking, affection or love for another
person. The term was used by Carl Rogers to
describe what he considered to be one of the two
basic needs of the human being; the need for
positive regard from others. This, he thought, could
be conditional upon appropriate behaviour or
unconditional, but as a basic need, it would have
to be satisfied. Rogers form of therapy requires
that the therapist provides the client with unconditional positive regard. See also self-actualization.
Positive reinforcement: Reinforcement which provides
something that the organism wants likes or needsa reward of some kind. See also negative reinforcement.
Positivism: A belief that reliable information can only
be obtained about events that can be observed


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

directly. It therefore claims that science should

only deal with observables and not hypothetical
constructs. Behaviourism in its more primitive
forms has been the clearest example of a positivistic
approach within psychology. An even more
restrictive version, called logical positivism, claims
that a hypothesis can only by regarded as scientific
if there is a way in which it can potentially be
disproved by empirical observation. Logical positivism has been largely abandoned or superseded,
but it was always more popular among philosophers of science than among psychologists, who
mostly just got on with the job of studying hypothesized psychological process such as motivation.
August Comte was its founder (17581857).
Postconcussional syndrome: States occurring after
generalized contusion of the brain, in which the
symptom picture may resemble that of the front
lobe syndrome or that of any neurotic disorders,
but in which in addition, headache, giddiness,
fatigue, insomnia and a subjective feeling of
impaired intellectual ability are usually prominent.
Mood may fluctuate, and quite ordinary stress may
produce exaggerated fear and apprehension. There
may be marked intolerance of mental and physical
exertion, undue sensitivity to noise, and hypochondriacal preoccupation. The symptoms are more
common in people who have suffered from neurotic
or personality disorders, or when there is a possibility of compensation. This syndrome is particularly associated with the closed type of head
injury when signs of localized brain damage are
slight or absent, but it may also occur in other
conditions. Synonyms: post-traumatic brain
syndrome, nonpsychotic; status post commotion
Post-hypnotic amnesia: The forgetting of information
as a result of a suggestion made while the subject
was under hypnosis, and which occurs after the
hypnotic state has finished. Post-hypnotic amnesia

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


is often described by subjects as feeling like tipof-the-tongue forgetting can also last for several
Post-hypnotic suggestion: A suggestion made to
someone while they are in a hypnotic state, which
concerns behaviour which they will undertake once
the hypnotic fugues over. In the case of relatively
trivial forms of behaviour, this is often performed
by the subject, who typically says that they just
felt like doing it. Post-hypnotic suggestion has
sometimes been presented by Hollywood film
makers as being so powerful that it could force a
subject to act against their will, but thus represents
part of the Hollywood mythology of hypnotism,
which bears little resemblance to the real thing. It
is not possible to force someone to do anything
against their will, either during hypnosis or through
post-hypnotic suggestion; the state of hypnosis
itself necessarily involves the willing cooperation
of the subject throughout.
Postpartum psychosis: A psychotic reaction, usually
depression, after childbirth.
Posttraumatic stress disorder: An anxiety disorder that
occurs after and as a result of a disturbing event in
the patient life. It may be acute, chronic, or delayed.
Postural echo: A non-verbal signal which often indicated friendliness or that two people are in substantial agreement. While the participants are engaged
in a social exchange (such as a converzation) they
may be seen to be adopting (usually unconsciously) the same posture; or mirroring each
others posture if they are face-to-face. It may be
used consciously by therapists and salesmen to
produce a feeling of rapport in the client.
Posture: A powerful non-verbal cue which is commonly
used to indicate attitudes or emotions. It is about
the positioning of the body, the relative arrangement of the limbs. Posture is commonly, though
usually unconsciously, taken as a communicative


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

signal, and make a considerable difference to how

a verbal message is understood. See also postural
echo, non-verbal communication.
Posturing: Strange, fixed, and bizarre bodily positions
held by the patient for an extended time. See also
Posturology: The study of posture. In psychoanalysis
the study of the ways in which character, defences,
sexual attitudes and conflicts are revealed in
posture. Its logical companion, gesturology, does
not occur.
Potency: A males ability to perform the sexual act;
specifically, the capacity to achieve and maintain
an erection during coitus.
Potomania: Morbid impulse for intoxicating drinks.
Poverty of content of speech: Speech that is quantitatively adequate but qualitatively inadequate because
it imparts minimal, vague, or repetitious information.
Poverty of speech: See Laconic speech.
Power Law: A law propounded by S.S. Stevens which
states that the subjective strength of a stimulus is
equal to the physical strength of the stimulus raised
to a power (squared, cubed etc.) Like Fechners
law, the power law relates to the fact that as a
stimulus becomes stronger, bigger changes are
required in order to have the same psychological
effect. The power law differs from Fechners law in
the mathematical expression of the relationship.
Power semantics: It is concerned with the use of
language in maintaining and consolidating differential power in a society and the manipulation of
people by means of language.
Practice effect: An experimental effect in which apparent changes in the dependent variable happen as
a result of the subject gaining practice in the task
during the course of the experiment, and therefore
improving their performance. Practice effects are
usually controlled by counterbalancing the order
of presentation of the conditions of the study.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Pragmatics: An approach in studying language which

concentrates on the functions that language performs rather than on the structure of the language
itself (linguistics).
Pratt, Joseph H.: Boston physician born in 1842 and
generally considered to be the first pioneer in group
psychotherapy in America. He formed discussion
groups amount patients with tuberculosis to deal
with the physical aspects of their disease. Later,
those groups began discussing the emotional
problems that stemmed from the illness.
Preconscious: One of the three divisions of the psyche
in Freud s topographic model, the preconscious
includes all mental contents that are not in immediate awareness but that can be consciously recalled
with effort. See also Conscious, Unconscious.
Predictor variable: The test or other form of performance which is used to predict the persons status
on a criterion variable. For example scores on the
Scholastic Aptitude Test might be used to predict
the criterion finishing college within the top 33%
of graduating class. Scores on the Scholastic
Aptitude Test would be predictor scores.
Pregenital stages: In psychoanalysis, the first stages
of psychosexual development namely, the oral and
the anal stages which occur before genitals have
begun to exert the predominant influence on sexual
behaviour. See also Anal phase, Genital phase,
Infantile sexuality, Oral phase, Phallic phase,
Psychosexual development.
Prejudice: Preconceived adverse judgement or opinion
formed without just grounds or sufficient knowledge. Elements of irrational suspicion or hatred
are often involved, as in racial prejudice.
Premature ejaculation: Ejaculation occurring before
or immediately after vaginal intromission during
coitus. Broader definitions take into consideration
the ability of the man to delay ejaculation during
coitus for a sufficient length of time to satisfy a
normally responsive female partner.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Premenstrual tension syndrome: A group of physical

and psychological symptoms which is varying
combinations characteristically recur in women in
the second, luteral phase of the menstrual cycle
and subside during the first 1112 days of the
cycle. The commonest symptoms include tension,
irritability, depression, painful breasts, fluid
retention and backache. The relationship of mental
ill-health and hormonal disturbances to this
syndrome remains unclear. See also psychogenic
Pre-moral stage: The first of Kohlbrs three stages of
moral development, in which moral judgements are
seen entirely instrumentally, in terms of whether or
not the individual is likely to be detected and /or
Premorbid: Occurring before the onset of disease.
Pre-operational stage: The second of Piagets stages
of cognitive development. During this stage
children are unable to think in terms of logical
concepts such as conservation or reversibility and
they are dominated by perceptual features of their
world. The stage starts from about 2 years of age,
at the end of the sensori-motor stage, when object
permanence is first seen. It ends at about 7 years
when the child starts the stage of concrete operations.
Presenile dementia: In DSM, called primary degenerative dementia, presenile onset; examples include
Alzheimers disease and Picks disease.
Pressure of speech: An increase in the amount of spontaneous speech; rapid, loud, accelerated speech.
It is also called pressured speech. Occurs in mania,
schizophrenia, and organic disorders. See also
Communication disorder, Logorrhea.
Prevalence: Total number of cases of a disease existing
a given point in time (point prevalence) or during a
specified time period (period prevalence). See also

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Preventive psychiatry: Branch of preventive medicine

dealing with mental disorders. Encompassed within
its scope are measures to prevent mental disorders
(primary prevention); measures to limit the severity
of illness, as through early case finding and
treatment (secondary prevention); and measures
to reduce disability after a disorder (tertiary
Primal repression: See Repression.
Primal scene: In psychoanalysis, the real or fantasied
observation by a child of sexual intercourse,
particularly between his parents.
Primal therapy: A system of psychotherapy developed
by Arthur Janov. The patient undergoes a short
period (2 to 3 weeks) of intensive individual
therapy, preceded by a 24 hour period of isolation
and followed by a few months of group therapy
with other post primal patients. During the therapy
the patient is encouraged to experience a series of
what Janov calls primal, in which the patient relieves
the prototypical traumatic events that originally
crystallized his suffering and thereby created his
Primary degenerative dementia, presenile onset: See
Alzheimers disease. Picks disease, Presenile
Primary gain: Reduction of anxiety achieved by a
defense mechanism; relief from tension or conflict
through neurotic illness. See also Secondary gain.
Primary prevention: See preventive psychiatry.
Primary process: In psychoanalysis, the mental
activity directly related to the functions of the id
and characteristic of unconscious mental processes. The primary process is marked by privative,
prelogical thinking and by the tendency to seek
immediate discharge and gratification of instinctual
demands. It is seen in infancy and in dreams.
Primary reinforcer: See Reinforcement.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Prince, Morton (18541929): American neurologist

and psychiatrist known for his study of multiple
Principal diagnosis: The condition established after
study to be chiefly responsible for the admission
of the patient to the hospital or for outpatient
Principle of closure: Probably the most powerful of
the Gestalt principles of perceptual organization,
the principle of closure refers to the perceptual
tendency towards complete forms and shapes. So
a set of disconnected lines is likely to be seen as
indicating an incomplete shape if this is at all
possible, rather than simply being taken as
independent stimuli. The principle of closure also
extends into the perception of movement, in the
form of stroboscopic motion and the phi phenomenon.
Principle of parsimony: See Occams razor.
Principle of proximity: One of the Gestalt principles of
perceptual organizations, which states that stimuli
which occur close to one another will tend to be
perceived as grouped together, all other things
being equal.
Principles of similarity: One of the Gestalt principles
of perceptual organization which states that similar
will tend to be perceived as grouped together, all
other things being equal.
Prison psychosis: Psychotic reaction to incarceration
or to the prospect of incarceration. See also
Gansers syndrome.
Privilege: Legal term referring to the legal right of a
patient to prevent his physician from testifying
about information obtained in the course of
treatment. It is the legal formulation of the ethical
principle of confidentiality. In some states, information obtained in the course of the doctor-patient
relationship is considered privileged communication.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Privileged communication: The laws of evidence in

some jurisdictions provide that certain kinds of
communication between persons who have a
special confidential or fiduciary relationship will
not be divulged. The psychotherapist-patient and
doctor-patient relationship is, in some states,
considered privileged communication. But the law
is in a state of flux and there are many exceptions
e.g., a patient who sues, basing the suit in whole
or in part on psychiatric considerations, may waive
privilege. It is important to realize that the privilege
belongs to the patient not to the therapist, and can
be waived only by the patient unless otherwise
provided by the law of legal proceedings.
Proactive interference: When information which has
already been learned interferes with the learning
of new material. Proactive interference is particularly common when someone is trying to learn a
set of similar tasks within a relatively short period
of time. It may account for the primacy effect.
Process schizophrenia: Unofficial term for schizophrenia attributed more to endogenous factors than
to specific environmental influence. See also
Reactive schizophrenia.
Prodrome: An early symptom of a disease. It often
serves as a warning or premonitory sign of the
approach of a morbid condition.
Programmed learning: A technique for applying
operant conditioning to classroom learning. The
information is broken down into small units, and
presented to the student in such a way that one
unit leads naturally on to the next. Each unit
involves some kind of simple test question. If the
student gets it right, they move onto the next state;
if they get it wrong, they go back over the relevant
material again. The idea is that this approach
maximizes positive reinforcement (in the shape of
correct answers) for the student, thus maximizing
interest in and application to the learning process.
As an example of pure operant conditioning,


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

programmed learning has been criticized on the

grounds that knowledge of results is a cognitive
rather than a behavioural reinforcement. In classroom practice, the absence of social interaction
between student and teacher has often presented
its own difficulties, and programmed learning has
tended to be introduced in a manner that is far
more limited than was previously envisaged.
Projection: Unconscious defense mechanism in which
a person attributes to another those generally unconscious ideas, thoughts, feelings, and impulses
that are in himself undesirable or unacceptable.
Projection protects the person from anxiety arising
from an inner conflict. By externalizing whatever is
unacceptable the person deals with it as a situation
apart from himself. See also Blind spot, Schreber
Projective set: A type of psychological test with loosely
structures test material that requires the subject to
reveal his own feelings, personality, or psychopathology. Examples include the Rorschach Test
and the Thematic Appreciation Test.
Prosocial behaviour: The opposite of antisocial behaviour; prosocial is used to refer to behaviour which
involves helping others or making a positive
gesture towards them in some way. It is commonly
used in discussions of bystander intervention and
altruistic behaviour.
Proprioception: See Kinesthetic sense.
Prosopagnosia: An inability to recognize familiar faces
that is not due to impaired visual acquity or level
of consciousness.
Prototaxic: A term introduced by Harry Stack Sullivan
to refer to primitive illogical thought processes.
See Primary process.
Pseudo aggression: A neurotic defense in which the
patient denies his basic masochistic feelings and
displays them, instead, as false aggression.
Pseudo authenticity: False or copied expression of
thoughts and feelings.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Pseudo collusion: Sense of closeness, relationship, or

cooperation that is not real but is based on transference.
Pseudocyesis: It is defined as the conviction of a nonpregnant woman that she is pregnant, occurring
with symptoms associated with pregnancy. It
excludes delusions of pregnancy during psychosis,
feigned pregnancy in malingering, endocrinal
disorders like the galactorrhoea amenorrhoea
syndrome and pelvic or abdominal tumors causing
symptoms of pregnancy.
Pseudodementia: A dementia-like disorder that can be
reversed by appropriate treatment and is not caused
by organic brain disease. The term is also used to
describe a condition in which the patient shows
an exaggerated indifference to his surroundings in
the absence of a mental disorder. It also occurs in
depression and factitious disorders.
Pseudofamily: See Care-giver
Pseudologia fantastica: A disorder characterized by
uncontrollable lying in which the patient elaborates
extensive fantasies that he freely communicates.
Pseudo mutuality: Phenomenon displayed by married
couples and families in which the members are
united by their capacity to satisfy each others
neurotic needs.
Pseudoschizophrenia: A group of disorders resembling
schizophrenia in some of their clinical features but
belonging to different diagnostic categories. According to Rumke the pseudoschizophrenias include
manic-depressive illness, organic states, severe
hysterical reactions, obsessive-compulsive conditions, and schizoid and paranoid personality
disorders. See also: latent schizophrenia.
Psychalgia: See psychogenic pain disorder.
Psychasthenia: Obsolete term used by Janet to describe
a syndrome characterized by fears and phobia.
Psyche: The mind. The psychoanalytical literature,
following Freud, uses psyche and mind synony-


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

mously. However whereas mind; tends to be used

in contrast to body, psyche isusually contrasted
with soma.
Psychiatric nurse: See Nurse, psychiatric.
Psychiatric social worker: See Social worker, psychiatric.
Psychiatrist: A medical doctor whose speciality is the
study and treatment of mental disorders.
Psychiatry: The branch of medicine that deals with
diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental disorders.
Psychic determinism: Freudian concept that all mental
phenomena have specific antecedent causes, often
operating on an unconscious level.
Psychic energizer: Any Antidepressant drug.
Psychoactive drug: Any drug that alters mental or
behavioural processes.
Psychoanalysis: A theory of human mental phenomena
and behaviour, a method of psychic investigation
and research, and a form of psychotherapy originally formulated by Sigmund Freud. As a technique
for exploring the mental processes psychoanalysis
includes the use of free association and the analysis and interpretation of dreams, resistances, and
transferences. As a form of psychotherapy, it uses
the investigative technique, guided by Freuds
libido and instinct theories and by ego psychology
to gain insight into a persons unconscious
motivations, conflicts, and symbols and thus to
effect a change in his maladaptive behaviour.
Several schools of thought are loosely referred to
as psychoanalytic at present. Psychoanalysis is
also known as analysis in depth and its practitioners
are known as psychoanalysts. See also Reconstructive psychotherapy.
Psychoanalyst: A psychotherapist, usually a psychiatrist, who has had training in psychoanalysis and
who uses its techniques in a treatment setting.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Psychoanalytic group psychotherapy: A method of

group psychotherapy pioneered by Alexander
Wolf and based on the operational principles of
individual psychoanalytic therapy. Analysis and
interpretation of a patients transference, resistances, and defenses are modified to take place in
a group setting. Although strictly designating
treatment structures to produce significant character change, the term encompasses the same
approach in groups conducted on more superficial
levels for smaller goals.
Psychobiology: Term introduced by Adolf Meyer and
referring to the study of the human being as an
integrated unit, incorporating psychological, social
and biological functions.
Psychodrama: Psychotherapy method originated by
J.L. Moreno in which personality make-up, interpersonal relationships, conflicts, and emotional
problems are expressed and explored through
dramatization. The therapeutic dramatization of
emotional problems includes (1) protagonist or
patient, the person who presents and acts out his
emotional problems with the help of (2) auxiliary
egos, persons trained to act and dramatize the
different aspects of the patient that are called for
in a particular scene in order to help him express
his feelings, and (3) the director, leader, or therapist,
the person who guides those involved in the drama
for a fruitful and therapeutic session. See also
Hypnodrama, Improvization, Reenactment, Role
playing, self realization. Theater of spontaneity.
Psychodynamics: The systematized knowledge and
theory of human behaviour and its motivation the
study of which depends largely upon the functional
significance of emotion. Psychodynamic recognize
the role of unconscious motivation in human
behaviour. The science of psychodynamics assumes
that ones behaviour is determined by past experience, genetic endowment, and current reality.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Psychogenic: Produced or caused by mental factors,

rather than organic factors. It usually refers to a
symptom or an illness.
Psychogenic amnesia: A dissociative disorder characterized by the sudden inability to recall information
stored in memory in the absence of an underlying
organic mental disorder. When associated with
travel to another locate and the assumption of a
new identity, the condition is called psychogenic
Psychogenic dysmenorrhoea: Abdominal pain or
cramps occurring during menstruation (and not as
part of the premenstrual tension syndrome), for
which underlying psychological causes have been
postulated without being convincingly demonstrated. See also: premenstrual tension syndrome.
Psychological cyclical vomiting: Sudden attacks of
vomiting in children, which. In the absence of
gastrointestinal disease, last for several days and
cease abruptly, with a tendency to reoccur after
intervals of several weeks or longer. Emotional difficulties are thought to underline the disturbance.
Psychogenic fugue: A dissociative disorder characterized by periods of total amnesia in which one
travels and assumes a new identity. See also Fugue,
psychogenic amnesia.
Psychogenic hiccough, psychogenic cough: Hiccough
(singultus), the involuntary spasm of the inspiratory muscles followed by an abrupt closure of
the glottis, can be a normal transient occurrence
after eating or drinking or, when persisting or
reoccurring frequently, a symptom of a somatic
disease. Psychogenic cauzation has been surmised,
but not proved, in cases where no physical cause
is found. In contrast, a dry, unproductive cough in
the absence of respiratory or central nervous
system disease, is more readily accepted to be a
neurotic symptom or an isolated psychogenic tic.
Psychogenic pain disorder: A disorder in which the
predominant feature is the complaint of pain on

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


the absence adequate physical findings and in

which there is evidence that psychological factors
play a causal role. It is also known as psychalgia.
Psychohistory: As approach to history that examines
events within a psychological framework. If
attempts to connect individual and collective ideas
and emotions with wider historical currents.
Psychokinesis: Phenomenon in which directed thought
processes influence physical events. See also
Psycholexicology: The psychological study of words
and their meanings (believed to be coined by
Geroge A. Miller).
Psycholinguistics: The exploration of the psychological factors involved in the development and
use of language.
Psychologic autopsy: Post-mortem evaluations of the
psychodynamics leading to a persons suicide.
Psychological defence system: See Defence mechanism.
Psychologist: A person trained in psychology, usually
with a graduate degree (M.A. Ph.D.).
Psychologist, clinical: A psychologist with additional
training and experience in a clinical setting who
specializes in the evaluation and treatment of
human mental disorders.
Psychology: Traditionally defined as the science of
mind but of recent years, and increasingly, the
science of behaviour. Qualifies of psychology
refer either to specialized branches of the subjectabnormal, normal, animal, human, child, genetic
(developmental, industrial, social, clinical, academic,
educational or to different systems of thought
behaviouristic Gestalt, psychoanalytical), Freudian,
Jugian, adlerian. Term was coined by Gockel.
Psychometry: The science to testing and measuring
mental and psychologic ability, efficiency potentials, and functioning, including psychopathologic


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Psychomotor: Combined physical and mental activity.

Psychomotor agitation: Generalized physical and
emotional overactivity in response to internal and/
or external stimuli, as in hypomania.
Psychomotor retardation: Slowing of mental and
physical activity, common in depression.
Psychopathic personality: See Antisocial personality
Psychopathology: See abnormal.
Psychopharmacology: The study of the mental and
behavioural effects of drugs.
Psychophysiological disorder: See psychosomatic
Psychopolitics: A relatively new term that has been
applied in two different contexts. According to one
usage, it describes the psychological dimension
of political behaviour, such as the reciprocal
influence on persons of political environments and
their societies. According to another image, it refers
to specific tactics of politicians that are intended
to yield benefits to them through the use of
psychological strategies.
Psychosexual development: A series of stages from
infancy to adulthood, relatively fixed in time,
determined by the interaction between a persons
biologic drives and the environment. With resolution of this interaction, a balanced, reality-oriented
development takes place; with disturbance, fixation
and conflict ensure. This disturbance may remain
latent or give rise to character logic or behavioural
disorders. The stages of development are:
(a) Oral: The earliest of the stage of infantile
psychosexual development, lasting from birth
to 12 months or longer. Usually subdivided
into two stages: The oral erotic, relating to the
pleasurable experience of sucking, and the oral
sadistic, associated with aggressive biting.
Both oral eroticism and sadism continue into
adult life in disguised and sublimated forms,

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


such as the character traits of demandingness

or pessimism. Oral conflict, as a general and
pervasive influence, might underlie the
psychologic determinants of addictive disorders, depression, and some functional
psychotic disorders.
(b) Anal: The period of pregenital psychosexual
development , usually from one to three years,
in which the child has particular interest and
concern with the process of defecation and
the sensations connected with the anus. The
pleasurable part of the experience is termed
anal eroticism. See also anal character.
(c) Phallic: The period from about 2.5 to 6 years,
during which sexual interest curiosity, and
pleasurable experience center about the penis
in boys, and in girls, to lesser extent, the
(d) Oedipal: Overlapping some with the phallic
stage, this phase (ages four to six) represents
a time of inevitable conflict between the child
and parents. The child must desexualize the
relationship to both parents in order to retain
affectionate kinship with both of them. The
process is accomplished by the internalization
of the images of both parents, thereby giving
more definite shape to the childs superego.
With this internalization largely completed, the
regulation of self-esteem and moral behaviour
comes from within.
Pyschosexual disorder: A disorder of sexual functioning
that is caused, wholly or partly, by psychological
factors. See also Ego-dystonic homosexuality,
Gender identity disorder, Paraphilia, Psychosexual
Psychosexual dysfunction: A psychosexual disorder
characterized by an inhibition in sexual desire or a
psychophysiological functions. In DSM the
psychosexual dysfunctions include inhibited
sexual desire, inhibited sexual excitement, inhibited


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

female orgasm, inhibited sexual desire, inhibited

sexual excitement, inhibited female orgasm,
inhibited male orgasm, premature ejaculation,
functional dyspareunia, functional vaginismus.
Psychosis: A mental disorder in which a persons
thoughts, affective response, ability to recognize
reality, and ability to communicate and relate to
others are sufficiently impaired to grossly interfere
with his capacity to deal with reality. The classical
characteristics of psychosis are: impaired reality
testing, hallucinations, delusions, illusions. The
term was first used by Feuchtersleben in 1846.
Psychosis, reactive: A term employed to designate a
group of psychoses causally related to a preceding
external event, e.g., personal loss, bereavement,
insult, natural disaster. The psychoses are mostly
of brief duration, often but not always remitting
with the recession of the provoking factor. Their
form and content tend to reflect the nature of the
precipitant and to fall into three broad clinical
categories; disorders of consciousness (confusional), disorders of affect (depression), and delusional disorders (paranoid). This classification of the
reactive psychoses, originally delineated by Wimmer
(1916) as psychogenic psychoses, is widely but
not universally accepted. In ICD, the term refers to
a small group of psychotic conditions that are
largely or entirely attributable to a recent life
experience. The term should not be used for the
wider range of psychoses in which environmental;
factors play some (but not major) part in etiology.
Synonym: psychogenic psychosis.
Psychosis reactive depressive type: A depressive
psychosis which can be similar in its symptoms to
manic-depressive psychosis, depressed type, but
is apparently provoked by a saddening stress such
as bereavement or a severe disappointment or frustration. Compared with manic-depressive psychosis,
depressed type, there may be less clinical variation

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


of symptoms and the delusions are more often

understandable in the context of the life experiences. There is usually a serious disturbance of
behaviour, e.g., major suicidal attempt. Synonyms:
reactive depressive psychosis; psychogenic
depressive psychosis.
Psychosis reactive, excitative type: An affective
psychosis similar to manic depressive psychosis,
manic type, but apparently provoked by emotional
Psychosocial deprivation: Deprivation of social and
intellectual stimulation. It is believed to be causative factor in mental retardation and emotional
disorders in children.
Psychosocial development: Developmental progress of
a person with regard to social relations and social
reality as primarily described by Eric Erikson.
Specified developmental tasks characterize
successive chronological periods from infancy
through maturity. The major tasks and their periods
are: trust versus mistrust (infancy), autonomy
versus doubt (toddler), initiative versus guilt
(preschool), industry versus inferiority (school
age), identity versus identity diffusion (adolescence), intimacy versus isolation (young adulthood), generativity versus self absorption (adulthood), integrity versus despair (mature age).
Psychosocial dwarfism: Shunted growth and failure to
thrive in childhood which are reversible and have
been attributed to the psychological effects of
distorsions of the parent-child relationship. The
evidence for a primary psychological cauzation is
not disputed, and inadequate food intake, usually
masked by psychosocial problems in the family, is
thought to be the principal factor. Synonym: deprivation dwarfism.
Psychosocial stressor: A factor is judged to be a significant contributor to the development of exacerbation of a psychiatric disorder. Examples include
marriage, death of a spouse, illness, work problems,
change in residence, and natural disaster.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Psychosomatic disorder: A disorder characterized by

physical symptoms caused by psychological
factors. It usually involves a single organ system
inverted by the autonomic nervous system. The
physiological and organic changes stem from a
sustained emotional disturbance. It was previously
known as psycho physiological disorder. In DSM,
it is called psychological factor affecting physical
condition. See also Anaclitic therapy.
Psychotherapist: A person trained to treat mental,
emotional, and behavioural disorders. See also
Active therapist; Passive therapist; Psychiatrist,
psychoanalyst, psychologist, clinical: psychotherapy.
Psychotherapy: A form of treatment for mental illness
and behavioural disturbances in which a trained
person establishes a professional contract with the
patient and through definite therapeutic communication, both verbal and nonverbal, attempts to
alleviate the emotional disturbance, reverse or
change maladaptive patterns of behaviour, and
encourage personality growth development.
Psychotherapy is distinguished from such other
forms of psychiatric treatment as the use of drugs
and electroshock therapy. See also Brief Psychotherapy.
Psychotic: A person suffering from a psychosis. See
also Psychosis
Psychotic depressive reaction: Psychosis distinguished by depressed mood precipitated by some
event, usually in a person who had not previously
demonstrated severe depression. In DSM, called
major depressive disorder, single episode with
mood-congruent psychotic features.
Puerperal psychosis: See Postpartum psychosis.
Punishment: The application of some kind of penalty
or unpleasant event in order to suppress an
unwanted form of behaviour. Although punishment is commonly used as a means of behavioural
control, there is some evidence to suggest that it

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


is of limited value by comparison with more directive approach such as the direct rewarding of
desired behaviour which occurs in operant conditioning. Note that punishment is not a form of
negative reinforcement.See physical punishment,
psychological punishment.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Quaalude: A sedative hypnotic (methaaualone) which
is frequently abused because of its alleged
aphrodisiac properties.
Quadrangular therapy: A type of marital therapy that
involves four people: the married pair and each
spouses therapist.
Q-sort: A test often utilized in conjection with clientcentered therapy, to evaluate the individuals selfesteem in their own terms. The Q-sort consists of
set of cards, each of which provides a short statement about character or personality, which may be
positive, neutral or negative. Clients are asked to
sort the cards into piles which express how closely
the statements fit with the individuals own selfconcept e.g., very like me, unlikeme etc. When
all the cards have been sorted, the client is asked
to sort them again, but this; in terms of their ideal
self; myself as I would like to be. The similarity or
otherwise; between the two sets of card-sorts
provides a correlation coefficient indicative of the
individuals esteem. Among other uses, the Q-sort
has been employed in studies of the efficacy of
client-centered therapy.
Qualitative difference: A difference in kind, not simply
in amount. If two things are qualitatively different,
it implies that arithmetic comparisons between them
are not appropriate, as they are of a different nature,
like chalk and cheese. See also quantitative difference.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Quantitative variable: An object to observation which

varies in manner or disagree in such a way it may
be measured.
Quantity: In this Project for a Scientific psychology
which has written in 1895 but only published
posthumously in 1950. Freud used Q to represent
whatever it is that distinguishes activity from rest
in the nervous system and which is capable of
being quantified. Q was conceived as being attached
to neurons and of being capable of passing from
one neurone to another.
Quantum: Literally an amount but usually, as in
quantum physics the discrete unit into which a
quantifiable entity is divisible. The classical theory
postulated the existence of quanta of psychic
energy which are generated in the Id, which are
capable of being discharged in action and of being
bound (attached) to those mental structures which
constitute the Ego.
Quota sampling: A system of obtaining a sample for a
study which involves identifying a set of representative sub-groups within the population, and taking
a number of subjects from each of these subgroups. The size of each sub-group in the sample
depends on its proportional size in the original
population. For instance, in a study of student
attitudes to their Technical College, the sample
would be picked to represent the same proportions
of different types of students as were found in the
college as a whole-if 10% of the students were on
same day-release courses, then 10% of the sample
would be drawn from the day-release students. See
also sampling.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Race differences: Group differences between different
races identified by use of psychometric tests.
Because these tests usually measure something
valued by European culture, and because their
objectivity has been overestimated, findings of
lower scores, for example on intelligence tests, of
ethnic minority groups have been used as the basis
for claims of racial superiority. These claims have
then led to a rather more careful inspection of the
evidence and it is now recognized that neither race
nor intelligence can be defined or measured with
enough accuracy to justify claims about the relationships between them.
Racism: Discrimination, prejudice or unfair practice
towards someone which occurs purely on the basis
of their ethnic group or skin colour.
Random: A statistical term that means occurring by
chance or without attention to selection or
planning. A random sample of a given population
consists of a group of subjects selected in such a
manner that each member of the population has an
equal probability of being selected for the sample.
Random sample: A group of subjects selected in such
a way that each member of the population from
which the sample is derived has an equal or known
change (probability) of being chosen for the sample.
Range: A statistical measure of the variability of a set
of values defined as the difference between the
largest value and the smallest value.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Rank, Otto (18841939): Austrian psychoanalyst, one

of Freuds earliest followers and the long-time
secretary and recorder of the minutes of the Vienna
Psychoanalytic society. His works includeThe
Trauma of Birth and The Myth of the Birth of the
Hero. He split with Freud on the significance of
the birth trauma, which he used as a basis of brief
Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep: A form of sleep in
which the body remains comatose, except for the
eye muscles, which move rapidly and continuously. When woken from REM sleep, subjects
often report dreaming, and if an external stimulus,
such as being lightly sprayed with cold water, is
applied at this time, the dream content is likely to
reflect the stimulus; in their case the subject might
dream of being out in the rain. REM sleep occurs
in phases throughout the night. Each phase usually
lasts about 20 minutes, before the subject passes
on the one of the deeper, quiescent levels of sleep.
The phases become longer and more frequent
during the course of sleep. Over the life span the
time spent in REM sleep drops from about 8 hours
in the newborn to about 1.5 hours in the elderly.
The function of REM sleep is disputed, with
theories ranging from those that see it as functional
either in physiological restorative processes or as
the phase in which the information acquired during
the previous day is processed, to theories that it is
left over from a previous stage of evolution. REM
sleep is also known as paradoxical sleep.
Rapport: Conscious feeling of harmonious accord,
sympathy, and mutual responsiveness between
two or more persons. Rapport contributes to an
effective therapeutic process in both group and
individual settings. See also Countertransference,
Rapture of the deep syndrome: Psychosis seen in scuba
and deep-sea divers. It is also known as nitrogen
narcosis because of its association with excessive
blood nitrogen levels. Sensory deprivation may


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

also contribute to this acute, self-limited mental

Rat Man: Nickname given in a analytical literature of
the patient described by Freud in his paper Notes
upon a case of Obsessional Neurosis (1909).
Rational-emotive therapy (RET): A form of cognitive
psychotherapy development by Albert Ellis. It is
based on the idea that people make common logical
errors, e.g., believing that it is necessary to be
competent in every way, to have everyone love
you, and to have whatever you want immediately.
RET takes the form of persuading the client, by
cognitive, emotional and behavioural means, to see
persuading the client, by cognitive, emotional and
behavioural means, to see things differently
(correctly) so that their behaviour will be less
Rationalization: An intelligence test which is designed
to be culture fair. The test consists of a series of
grids or matrices of 8 patterns from which the 9th
can be deduced logically, and a set of patterns of
which one is the missing 9th pattern and therefore
the correct answer. The special feature of the test
is that it is entirely non-verbal and it is even possible
to administer it to someone with whom the tester
shares no language at all. Despite the attempt of
Raven to make the test independent of culture, it
still reflects some cultural assumptions and
experience. Three examples of these assumptions
are: 1. solving a puzzle whenever it is presented to
you. 2. geometric shapes can be manipulated
according to rules. 3. familiarity with two-dimensional representation (line drawings). In many
cultures manipulation of and or interest in abstract
forms of this kind are not regarded as particularly
desirable human activities.
Ray, Issac (18071881): One of the original 13 founders
of the American Psychiatric Association. He is
famous for his treatise on Medical Jurisprudence
of Insanity (1837).

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Reactance: The tendency of people to be made uncomfortable by any restriction of their freedom of choice.
Once such pressure is perceived people will often
act in opposition to it.
Reaction: This is used rather loosely for any changes
in the psychological state which is brought about
by external events which do not damage the brain.
Jaspers has defined a reactive psychiatric illness
as one in which there is a clear relation between
the illness and the alleged cause; the content of
the illness is the same as the cause, and if the cause
can be reversed the illness will disappear.
Reaction formation: An unconscious defense mechanism in which a person develops a socialized attitude
or interest that is the direct antithesis of some
infantile wish or impulse that he harbours either
consciously or unconsciously. One of the earliest
and most unstable defense mechanisms, it is closely
related to repression; both are defenses against
impulses or urges that are unacceptable to the ego.
Reaction range: A broad range of potential reactions
to deprived, average, and enriched environments
set by a persons heredity.
Reaction time: A measure of how quickly a person can
produce an accurate response to a stimulu. Reaction time has been used by psychological researchers in a wide range of investigations, including
ageing, decision-making, drug effects and vigilance.
It provides a rapid and reliable measure, which is
highly sensitive to disturbance by additional or
extraneous factors.
Reactive depression: This term is used by many Englishspeaking psychiatrists in a rather ill-defined way.
It can mean a state of unhappiness which has
occurred as a response to some psychological
trauma or, in other words, excessive normal unhappiness. It can also mean a depressive illness which
has been provoked by a psychological upset or in
which the symptoms fluctuate in response to
environmental changes.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Reactive disorder: Mental disorder judged to be a

reaction to one or more life events or circumstances, without which the disorder would not
have occurred. See also Brief reactive psychosis.
Reactive depression. Reactive schizophrenia.
Reactive schizophrenia: Unofficial term for schizophrenia attributed primarily to predisposing or
precipitating environmental factors. See also Process schizophrenia.
Reality adaptation: The process of becoming adapted
to the external environment. According to classical
theory, the infant is totally maladapted and obeys
the Pleasure-principle without reference to external
Reality anxiety: In Freuds classification of anxiety, he
included those situations in which the anxiety is
justified by a real external threat. See moral anxiety.
Reality principle: According to Freud, mental activity
is governed by two principles; the pleasure principle and the Reality principle, the former leading
to relief of instinctual tension by hallucinatory
wish-fulfillment the latter to instinctual gratification
by accommodation to the facts of and the objects
existing within the external world. According to
Freuds original formulations, the reality principle
is acquired and learned during development,
whereas the pleasure principle is acquired and
learned during development, whereas the pleasure
principle is innate and primitive.
Reality testing: Fundamental ego function that consists
of tentative actions that test and objectively evaluate the nature and the limits of the environment.
It includes the ability to differentiate between the
external world and the internal world and to accurately judge the relation between the self and the
environment. Falsification of reality, as with
massive denial or projection, indicates a severe
disturbance of ego functioning and/or the perceptual and memory processes upon which it is partly

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Recall: The process of bringing a memory into consciousness. Recall is often used to refer to the recollection of facts, events and feelings that occurred
in the immediate past.
Recency effect: A learning effect in which the items
which occurred most recently in a sequence are
more likely to be recalled than those which occurred
earlier on.
Receptor: The term is usually used to mean sense
receptor, a specialized cell or group of cells which
picks up sensory information, either from within
(see proprioceptors) or outside of the body, and
converts it into electrical impulses for transmission
to the central nervous system. So, for example, the
light-sensitive rod and cone cells of the eye are
receptors, as are the hair cells in a the organ of
Corti in the ear, and the pressure-sensitive cells in
the skin.
Receptor site: A location on the dendrite of a neurone,
opposite a synaptic knob, which is sensitive to
and readily absorbs a specific chemical. The appropriate chemical is released into the synaptic cleft
from vesicles on the synaptic knob of the opposing
neurone, and functions as neurotransmitter, rendering the receiving neurone more or less ready to
fire. Receptor sites may also pick up chemicals with
a similar structure, and many psychoactive drugs
have their effect by being taken up at receptor sites
appropriate for other chemicals: the hallucinogens
LSD and psilocybin are picked up at receptor sites
sensitive to the neurotransmitter serotonin, while
opiates such as herein and morphine are picked up
at sites appropriate for the enkephalin and endorphins.
Recidivism: Repeated legal offences, such that the
person concerned, the recidivist appears in court
on several occupations, not just once. A certain
amount of work on juvenile delinquency reported
by Rutter suggests that recidivism links very


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

strongly with a continually stressful home life, at

least for teenagers.
Reciprocal altruism: Helping behaviour which occurs
is a social context such that an individual, person
or animal who receives help, in turn helps the
individual who originally helped him. Reciprocal
altruism often occurs over extended periods of time,
and may not be recognized by a short-term ethological study.
Reciprocal inhibition and desensitization: A kind of
behaviour therapy in which a person is conditioned
to associate comfortable, supportive surroundings
with anxiety-producing stimuli, thus decreasing the
anxiety associated with those stimuli.
Reciprocal linking: The name given to a positive
relationship between two or more people in which
each participant likes the other(s). Positive feelings
which are received from someone are reciprocated,
i.e., the same degree of positive feeling is directed
towards that person.
Recognition: The second form of remembering identified by Ebbinghaus, and one which is used extensively by human beings. Ebbinghaus, working
with lists of nonsense syllables, demonstrated that
material which cannot be recalled may nonetheless
be recognized as having been in a previously learned set of information, if it is presented to a subject.
Reconstruction: Also sometimes known as red integration, this is the third of the four basic forms by
which memory may be demonstrated, according to
the work of Ebbinghaus. Once subjects to recognize or recall the items learned, they are often able
to re-construct the list in its original sequence, if
provided with the relevant items. Although they
will not experience a specific memory of the list,
one particular sequence often feels more right
than any other arrangement.
Reconstructive psychotherapy: A form of therapy that
seeks not only to alleviate symptoms but also to
produce alternations in maladaptive mental and

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


behavioural patterns and to develop new adaptive

approaches to problems in living. That aim is
achieved by bringing into conscious awareness
insight into conflicts, fears, and inhibitions. See
also Psychoanalysis.
Recreational drugs: which are consumed primarily for
enjoyment or appreciation of their effects, rather
than for medicinal purposes. These include legal
drugs such as alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine and
illegal drugs such as marijuana, amphetamines and
heroin. The use of recreational drugs in some form
occurs in all known human societies, and in some
cultures includes the use of very powerful hallucinogens such as mescaline. In general, the more
powerful drugs are consumed within some kind of
ritualized setting, while less potent ones such as
marijuana are taken more casually. Within Western
societies, however, the rituals are confined to subcultural habits, and are not often used as a framework for the experience of the drug itself.
Reductionism: A form of argument which takes the view
that an event, behaviour or phenomenon can be
understood as being nothing but its behaviorists
that human experience could be seen as nothing
but combination of S-R links; or the view that
behaviour may be understood as nothing but the
action of selfish genes are both reductionist
arguments. Although often superficially appealing,
reductionist argument ignores other levels of
explanation, such as cognitive explanation or
experimental/social factors in understanding the
phenomenon, and as such provide a limited
understanding of the event under study. Note that
even if the most extreme reductionist position is
true and all human functioning is the result of the
activities of sub-atomic particles, it would be
nonsense to try to explain a human activity such
as a joke in these terms.
Redundancy: A term used mostly in information theory
for the extent to which a message does not provide
new information.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Reenactment: In psychodrama, the acting out of a past

experience as if it were happening in the present,
so that a person can feel, perceive, and act as he
did the original time.
Registration: See Memory.
Regression: Unconscious defense mechanism in which
a person undergoes a partial or total return to earlier
patters of adaptation. Regression is observed in
many psychiatric conditions, particularly schizophrenia.
Regressive-reconstructive approach: A psychotherapeutic procedure in which regression is made an
integral element of the treatment process. An
original traumatic situation is reproduced to gain
new insight and to effect personality change and
emotional maturation. See also Psychoanalysis.
Reconstructive psychotherapy.
Rehabilitation: All methods and techniques used in an
attempt to achieve maximal function and optimal
adjustment in a given patient; the physical, mental,
social and vocational preparation of a patient for
the fullest possible life compatible with his abilities
and disabilities. In as much as the process aims
also to prevent relapses or recurrences of the
patients condition, it is sometimes called tertiary
Rehearsal: The repetition of information for the purpose
of improving subsequent retention.
Reich, Wilhelm (18971957): Austrian psychoanalyst
who emigrated to the United States in 1939. He is
best noted for his theory of neurosis, which he
believed was associated with incomplete release
of tension and energy during orgasm. He coined
the term orgone for a kind of universally pervasive physical and biological energy that was
typified by the pent-up libidinal energy that sought
free expression and release through orgasm.
Reification: Treating ideas or concepts as if they were
objects or facts. For example, starting from the fact

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


that people can be seen to behave more or less

intelligently, and going on to assume that there is
a thing called intelligence. It is easy to slip into
reification when talking about cognitive processes,
for example in Broadbands filter model there is a
box labeled filter which is used to indicate a
process. The mistake is to represent it as if it must
be a mechanism. Another form of this error is
psychology is to define a possible phenomenon
and then assume it is a fact which then has to be
explained. For example, there was a long period in
which different theories were proposed to account
for some children being obedient and other disobedient, before researches observed real children
and found that none were either consistently
obedient or consistently disobedient. The fact that
were have a good explanation for something (say,
male aggressiveness) does not prove that thing
exists. See also labeling.
Reik Theodor (18881969): Psychoanalyst and early
follower of Freud, who considered Reik one of his
most brilliant pupils. Freuds book The Question
of Lay Analysis was written to defend Reiks ability
to practice psychoanalysis without medical training. Reik made many valuable contribution to
psychoanalysis on the subjects of religion, masochism, and therapeutic technique. See also Third
Reincarnation: The belief those after death people are
reborn either as another person or in some other
animate form.
Reinforcement: Process whereby any event or stimulus
contingent on an operant response increases the
probability of that responses recurring. Positive
reinforcement refers to the process whereby a
stimulus (the positive rein forcer) increases the
frequency of performance of whatever response it
follows. Negative reinforcement involves an
aversive stimulus (the negative reinforcer), the


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

termination of which increase the frequency of the

response that terminates it. Stimuli that possess
reinforcing characteristics are called primary reinforcersfor example, food. Stimuli that acquire
reinforcing characteristics by being paired with
primary reinforcers are called conditioned reinforcersfor example, money. See also Conditioning,
Schedule of reinforcement, Token economy.
Reinforcement contingencies: The circumstances
under which reinforcement will be given. These
may vary naturally or be systematically carried, as
in the case of behaviour shaping.
Reinforcement schedule: A particular pattern of applying partial reinforcement. There are four main types
of reinforcement schedule, each of which produces
a distinctive effect on the pattern of responding.
Schedules may either fixed or variable; if fixed, then
reinforcement is given according to a predetermined pattern; if variable, it is given according to a
randomized sequence which average out at a
particular number. Reinforcement may also depend
on the number of responses that has been made
since the last reinforcement, or the time interval
which has elapsed since the last reinforcement was
given. The four schedules are: fixed-ratio, fixedinterval, variable ratio and variable-interval. Fixedratio reinforcement produces a rapid rate of
response but a low resistance to extinction. Fixedinterval reinforcement produces a low rate of response and a low resistance to extinction. Variable
ratio produces a high rate of response with a high
resistance to extinction. Variable-interval produces
a steady regular rate of response and a high resistance to extinction.
Reinforcer: Something which strengthens a learned
response; which makes a learned response more
likely to occur again. In classical conditioning, the
reinforcer is simply the repetition of the pairing of
the unconditioned and conditioned stimuli. In
operant conditioning the reinforcer is the event

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


that occurs after the operant behaviour, making it

more likely to occur again, and which may be either
positive or negative.
Relatedness: Sense of sympathy and empathy with
regard to other; sense of oneness with others. It is
the opposite of isolation and alienation.
Relative refractory period: The period after a neurone
has fired when it will only respond to a stimulus of
unusual strength. This occurs after the absolute
refractory period, when it will not fire at all, and
reflects the cells renewal of resources after the
production of the burst of electrical energy in the
form of the electrical impulse.
Relative risk: Epidemiological measure of the risk of
developing a disorder in a specified subset of the
population as compared with the total population
or a different subset of it. Comparison is usually
made between groups exposed and groups not
exposed to a particular hereditary or environmental
factor to gain information about the role of the
factor in the disorder in question. Relative risk is
then expressed as a ratio of the frequency of the
disorder in exposed persons to its frequency in
those not exposed.
Relative threshold: The degree by which a stimulus
must increase in order for the increase to be
perceived. The threshold is set at the point where
50% of changes of that magnitude are perceived,
and changes in direct proportion to the intensity
of the initial stimulus. The law known as Fechners
law expresses this relationship. See just noticeable
Relaxation training: A range of techniques to bring
about a relaxed state in the subject. Usually used
as a component in therapy, for example in
maintaining a relaxed state in a phobic patient as
they approaches the feared object. Many of the
techniques used in psychotherapy are based on
methods developed for meditation, such as yoga,
or are variations on hypnotic induction procedures.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Edmund Jacobson popularized the approach with

a procedure in which the subject concentrates on,
and relaxes, groups of muscles in turn. Biofeedback
can also be used.
Relearning method: A method to measure retention
that compares the time required to relearn material
with the time used in initial learning of the material.
Relearning savings: The fourth (weakest) level of
remembering identified by Ebbinghaus in his work
on the memorization processes. He found that there
were situations where all traces of memory of a
specific set of times appeared to have been lost, in
that the set could not be recalled, recognized, or
reconstructed; but when the set of items was
encountered again, it would take less time to relearn than a comparable set which had not
previously been learned.
Reliability: The extent to which the same test or
procedure will yield the same result either over time
or with different observers. The most commonly
reported reliabilities are (1) test-retest reliability
the correlation between the first and second test
of a number of subjects; (2) the split-half reliability
the correlation within a single test of two similar
parts of the test; (3) interrater reliability the
agreement between different individuals scoring
the same procedure or observations, and
(4) alternate form, high correlation between two
forms of the same test.
Reliability paradox: A very reliable test may have low
validity precisely because its results do not change
i.e., does not measure true changes.
Religion: For Freuds view that religious ideas are
illusions, fulfillment of the oldest, strongest and
most urgent wishes of mankind, where he interprets
belief in God as a response to recognition of human
helplessness. Freud also described neurosis as
an individual religiosity and religion as a universal
obsessional neurosis.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Remission: Significant improvement or recovery from

a disorder; it may or may not be permanent.
Remote memory: See Long-term memory.
Remotivation: A group treatment technique used with
withdrawn patients in mental hospitals.
REM sleep: Stage of sleep during which dreaming
occurs and the sleep exhibits coordinated rapid
eye movement (REM). The electroencephalogram
demonstrates a desynchronized pattern of cerebral
activity. It accounts for one-fourth to one-fifth of
total sleep time.
Reparation: The process (Defence mechanism) of
reducing guilt by action designed to make good
the harm imagined to have been done to an ambivalently invested object; the process of re-creating
an internal object which is phantasy has been
destroyed. In Kleinian writings, there is a tendency
to regard all creative activity as reparative and to
consider reparation one of the normal processes
by which the individual resolves his inherent
ambivalence towards objects.
Repertory grid: A technique developed by George
Kelly, for utilizing a persons personal constructs
to examine the significant people in his world, and
to identify actual or potential sources of psychological discomfort or stress. The repertory grid is
an idiographic technique, which enables a therapist
to see the patients world as they see it, a valuable
first step in most forms of therapy. The repertory
grid is also used more generally in research to
indicate how people perceive and understand their
Repetitioncompulsion: Term used by Freud to
describe what he believed to be an innate tendency
to revert to earlier conditions. The concept was
used by him in support of the Death-instinct
concept. Since the animate develops out of the
inanimate, there is, innate drive, the death-instinct,
to return to the inanimate. The concept was also


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

used to explain the general phenomenon of Resistance to therapeutic change.

Repetitive pattern: Continual attitude or mode of behaviour characteristic of a person and performed
mechanically or unconsciously.
Repression: An unconscious defense mechanism in
which unacceptable mental contents are banished
or kept out of consciousness. A term introduced
by Freud, it is important in both normal psychological development and in neurotic and psychotic
symptom formation. Freud recognized two kinds
of repression: (1) repression proper the repressed
material was once in the conscious domain;
(2) primal repression the repressed material was
never in the conscious realm. See also Suppression.
Freud distinguished manifestations of the impulse
are kept unconscious. According to Freud, all ego
development and adaptation to the environment
are dependent on primary repression, in the
absence of which impulses are discharged immediately by hallucinatory wish-fulfillment. On the
other hand, excessive secondary repression leads
to defective ego development and the emergence
of symptoms, not sublimations.
Repressive-inspirational group psychotherapy: A type
of group therapy in which discussion is intended
to bolster the patients morale and help them avoid
undesired feeling. It is used primarily with large
groups of seriously regressed patients in institutional settings.
Residential treatment facility: A center where the
patient lives the receives treatment appropriate for
his particular needs. A childrens residential treatment facility ideally furnishes both educational and
therapeutic experiences for the emotionally
disturbed child.
Residual: The phase of an illness that occurs after
remission of the florid symptoms or the full
syndrome. Example: the residual states of infantile
autism, attention deficit disorder and schizophrenia.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Residual schizophrenia: Schizophrenia in which the

patient no longer is psychotic but does have some
remaining signs of the illness.
Resistance: A conscious or unconscious opposition
to the uncovering of unconscious material. Resistance is linked to underlying psychological defense
mechanisms against impulses from the id that are
threatening to the ego.
Resistance to extinction: How long a learned response
will carry on without any further reinforcement.
Resistance to extinction is often used as a measure
of operant strength, in other words, to indicate
how strongly something has been learned.
Respondent conditioning (classical conditioning,
Pavlovian conditioning): Elicitation of a response
by a stimulus that normally does not elicit that
response. The response is one that is mediated
primarily by the autonomic nervous system (such
as .. or a change in heart rate). A previously neutral
stimulus is repeatedly presented just before an
unconditioned stimulus that normally elicits the
response. When the response subsequently occurs
in the presence of the previously neutral stimulus,
it is called a conditioned response, and the
previously neutral stimulus a conditioned stimulus.
Response bias: The tendency that subjects have to
produce experimental responses which are socially
desirable, or that they think the experimenter
expects. For example, a study involving comparing
reactions to sexually explicit material with reactions
to neutral material may show a difference which
results from the subjects unwillingness to appear
overly concerned with sexual matters; or from their
embarrassment. If this is not directly the topic under
study, it will result in a response bias which could
obscure other experimental findings.
Response generalization: The tendency to produce a
learned response in conditions which are similar,
though not identical to those under which the
response was learned. In general, the more similar


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

the conditions are, the stronger the response will

be, known as the generalization gradient.
Response rate: How frequently a response or unit of
behaviour occurs in a set period of time. Responserate is often used as a measure of operant strength,
or as an indicator of how strongly something has
been learned.
Restitution: Either (1) the defensive process of reducing
guilt by making amends to an ambivalently invested
object or (2) the process by which schizophrenic
or paranoid patient constructs delusions which
restore to him a sense of significance.
Restricted affect: See Affect, restricted.
Retardation: A reduction or slowing down of mental
and physical activity, as often observed in depression; psychomotor retardation. See also Mental
retardation, Psychomotor.
Retention: See Memory.
Retrieval: A term used to refer to the process of remembering thing, in which the information is sent as
being retrieved or brought back from, some kind
of storage system.
Retroactive interference: When new information which
is being learned interferes with the ability to recall
information which was learned previously. For
example, a tennis player who takes up squash may
find their tennis deteriorates for a while. See also
proactive interference.
Retroflexion: A psychoanalytic term used notably by
Rado to describe the turning of rage onto oneself.
Retrograde amnesia: The form of amnesia (memory
disorder) where the person is unable to remember
thing which happened before the event which
rendered them amnesiac. Retrograde amnesia
usually occurs after some form of brain damage,
but can happen in a minor way after concussion. It
is not uncommon for people who have been in an
accident involving severe concussion to lose all
memory of the few minutes leading up to the
accident. See also amnesia.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Retrospective falsification: Unconscious distortion of

past experiences to conform to present emotional
Reversal: 1. An instinctual vicissitude. According to
classical theory, instincts are capable of
undergoing reversal so that sadism can
change into masochism, voyeurism and
exhibitionism etc, the reversal being
usually, though not always from active to
2. Defence mechanism which exploits the
possibility of reversal. According to Anna
Freud, Reaction Formation is a defence in
which the ego avails itself of the instincts
capacity for reversal.
Reversibility: The operation of returning something to
its original state by reversing the process which
transformed it in the first case. The concept of
reversibility plays an important part in Piagets
theory of cognitive development. Understanding
that an operation in reversible allows one to
understand important aspects of the world.
Examples are: if a ball of plasticine can be rolled
out into a sausage shape, it can also be rolled back
into a ball. If A is larger than B, then B is smaller
than A. If 3 squared is 9, then the square root of 9
is 3, Piaget saw an understanding of reversibility
as an essential part of concrete operations; in
particular it is necessary before conservation can
be acquired.
Reward: Something which is provided for an organism,
animal or human, after a desired piece of behaviour
has occurred and which takes the form of something that the orgasm wants, needs, or likes. The
concept particularly important in the theory of
operant conditioning, where reward form positive
reinforcement for learned behaviour.
Ribonucleic acid (RNA): A chemical substance
involved in cellular protein synthesis. Its structure
is coded for by DNA. In turn, RNA determines the


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

sequence of amino acids in the synthesized protein

molecule. It may play a critical role in memory. See
also Deoxyribonuclei acid (DNA).
Ribots law: In a demanding illness, the memory for
recent events is lost before the memory for remote
events (memory regression).
Right to refuse treatment: Legal doctrine holding that
a person, even when involuntarily committed to a
hospital, may not be forced to submit to any form
of treatment against his will unless a life and death
emergency exists.
Right to treatment: Legal doctrine that a facility is
legally obligated to provide adequate treatment for
an individual when the facility has assumed the
responsibility of providing treatment.
Risky shift: A term which describes the fact that groups
often take riskier decisions than the individual
members of the group would take. This was first
put forward by Stomer in 1961.
Ritual: Formalized activity practiced by a person to
reduce anxiety in obsessive compulsive disorder.
It also refers to ceremonial activity of cultural origin.
Ritualistic behaviour: Automatic behaviour of cultural
or psychogenic origin.
Robotics: The area of research which involves the
development of mechanical systems which can
perform a set of actions in a way comparable to
that of a human being. Many highly successful
robotic system have been developed and applied,
particularly in the manufacturing industries. They
have involved considerable research not just into
movement systems but also into the development
of such techniques as optical scanning devices,
which can identify and respond to anomalies or
changes in the appearance of the material being
manufactured. As such robotics is often considered
to form one branch of the research into artificial
Rogers, Carl R. (19021987): A psychologist, a
founder of humanistic psychology and known for

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


developing a client-centered approach to psychotherapy, which permits the patient to take the lead
in the focus, pace, and direction of therapy; coined
the term self-actualization to describe self-discovery and personal growth.
Role: Pattern or type of behaviour developed under
the influence of significant people in the persons
environment. When the behaviour pattern
conforms with the expectations and demands of
other people, it is said to be a complementary role.
If it does not conform with the demands and
expectation of others, it is known as a non-complementary role.
Role behaviour: Behaviour which is considered to be
appropriate for someone who is playing a specific
social role. For instance, someone playing the role
of a shop assistant is expected to behave in certain
ways, to be smart, and alert, and to demonstrate
specific behaviours such as asking if a customer
needs to be served or requires information about
prices, etc. Other kinds of behaviour of which the
person may be equally capable, such as ballroom
dancing, are completely inappropriate to the social
role of shop assistant. See also role expectation.
Role confusion: In Eriksons developmental theory, a
state in which the identity is not well defined. It
may be regarded as a temporary state (this can
occur at any time of life but is particularly common
during adolescence) or as the long-term consequence of having failed to establish a clear identity
during adolescence. See psychosocial stages.
Role count: The sum total of social roles which an
individual plays. The concept becomes particularly
important in the case of those who have recently
retired; the process or retirement results in a drastic
reduction the number of social roles played by the
individual, and some researchers consider that it
is important for the retired person to replace at
least some of those social roles in alternative social


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Role expectation: The implicit but nonetheless very

clear ideas which members of a society have
concerning the ways that people ought to behave
when they are playing a social role in that society.
Behaviour which does not conform, at least in
general terms, to role expectations will usually meet
with social sanctions of some kind, for example the
exclusion of the person from the group.
Role play: Taking a particular role temporarily and
behaving, as nearly as possible, like a person who
actually holds that role. Role play is widely used in
training situations and is an effective way of
helping people understand what it feels like to have
the given role, and allows them practice the role
before being fully committed to it. It has been found
that acting a role often shifts a persons opinions
towards those they have been working with.
Preparatory role play may also help reduce anxiety
and improve performance in stressful situations
such as interviews.
Role playing: Psychodrama technique in which a person
is trained to function more effectively in his reallife roles. In the therapeutic setting of psychodrama. The protagonist is free to try and to fail in
his role, for he is given the opportunity to try again
until he succeeds. New approaches to feared
situations can thus be learned and applied outside
the therapeutic setting.
Rorschach test: A projective test in which the subject
is asked his associations in response to a series
of inkblot pictures.
Rosenthal effect: The finding by Robert Rosenthal and
others that ones expectations can have an effect
on an outcome that is being observed. Used
particularly in connection with the finding that
when teachers were told that a group of children
were very bright, those children performed better
than a similar group that the teachers had been
told were all dull. The term is also used for various

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


forms of experimenter effect and self-fulfilling

Rumination: A rare eating disorder of early childhood
characterized by recurrent regurgitation of food
in the absence of nausea, retching, or associated
gastro intestinal disorder. The regurgitated food
is either ejected from the mouth or reached and
reswalloed. It is also called merycism.
Rush, Benjamin (17451813): The father of American
psychiatry. His book, Medical Inquiries and
Observations upon the Diseases of the Mind (1812)
was the only American textbook on psychiatry
until the end of the 19th century.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Sadism: A paraphilia in which sexual gratification is
achieved by inflicting pain or humiliation on the
partner. The French writer Danatien Alphonse
Francois Sade, usually called the Marquis de Sade
(17401814) was the first to describe this condition.
See also Masochism, Sadomacsochistic relationship.
Sadomasochistic relationship: A relationship in which
the enjoyment of suffering by one person and the
enjoyment of inflicting pain by the other person
are important and complementary attractions in
their ongoing interaction. See also Masochism,
Safety need: The second level of Maslows hierarchy
of needs, safety needs refer to needs for security,
shelter and freedom attack. These needs become
important once basic physiological needs have
been satisfied. Once the safety needs in turn have
been satisfied, according to Maslow, the next level
of needs, social needs, become important.
Salience: Something which is particularly noticeable
or likely to be perceived. The salience of an object
or event may be due to its physical properties,
such as brightness and clarity; or it might arise
because the object or event relates to needs,
emotional states or meanings on the part of the
Salmon, Thomas W. (18761927): American psychiatrist; mental hygiene, military psychiatry.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Sanatorium: An institution where patients are treated

for chronic physical or mental diseases or where
they are attended to during a period of recuperation.
Sandlers triad: A symptom group consisting of low
self-esteem with confusion of identity, sadomasochistic behaviour towards military authorities and
impotence, seen frequently as an essential part of
Sapphism: See Lesbianism.
Satiation: Satiation is defined operationally as the point
at which an animal will no longer seek food. It is
usually used in investigations of hunger or other
motivational states and it implies that the underlying need is temporarily satisfied.
Satyriasis: Morbid insatiable sexual needs or desires
in a man. It may be caused by organic or psychiatric
factors. See also Nymphomania.
Scapegoat theory: The idea that prejudice arises from
people seeking to blame others for their own
negative circumstances. According to scapegoat
theory, poor living conditions, economic depression and frustrating situations lead people to react
in hostile ways to others; and this reaction is likely
to focus on any individuals who are present but
dont belong to the persons own peer group.
Scapegoat theory has been put forward as an
explanation for the growth of racism and sexism
during times when economic circumstances are
Scattering: One of the schizophrenic thinking disorders
in which association are sometimes irrelevant or
tangential, with the result that speech production
are occasionally incomprehensible.
Schachter-Singer theory: A theory of the relationship
between felt emotion and bodily conditions, it
states that felt emotion is based on the interpretation of the reason for bodily arousal. Compare
James Lange theory, Cannon-Bard theory.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Schedule of reinforcement: Scheme of intermittent

reinforcement in which a response is not reinforced
every time it occurs. Four broad classes of intermittent schedules are based on either the number
of responses required before an opportunity for
reinforcement is presented or the passage of a
certain amount of time before a given performance
is reinforced: (1) fixed-ratio schedule, in which a
constant number of responses must occur between
reinforcements; (2) variable-ratio schedule, in
which the average number of responses between
reinforcements is constant but there is a wide
variation around that average in the number of
responses between each reinforcement: (3) fixedinterval schedule, in which certain fixed amount
of time must pass between opportunities for
reinforcement: and (4) variable-interval schedule,
in which the average time between reinforcement
opportunities is fixed but the actual interval is
variable. See also Reinforcement.
Scheid cyanotic syndrome: Scheid attempted to explain
sudden death in excited manic patients and in
catatonic states as a somatic condition somehow
related to a somatic febrile or toxic etiology of the
psychosis itself. Some believe that such deaths
are due to physiological exhaustion secondary to
pathologic over activity.
Schema: A hypothetical model of the way that
information is stores by the brain. It is used to
direct action, and in understanding the relationships between events. A schema would include all
the information relation to a particular event or type
of event, including representations of previous
actions; theoretical and practical knowledge about
the event; ideas and opinions about it, etc. The
concept of schemata has formed a major part of
the theory of cognitive development put forward
by Piaget, and the cognitive theory of Neisser. The
idea of schemata and their extension and
development through experience, provides a useful
model for understanding how many different levels

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


of comprehension can be involved in both new

and familiar situations. See also anticipatory
Schilder, Paul (18861940): American neuropsychiatrist. He started the use of group psychotherapy at New Yorks Bellevue Hospital, combining
social and psychoanalytic principles. He is best
known for his work on the psychology of body
Schism: Hostility between parents is said to lead to
schizophrenic daughter.
Schizoaffective disorder: A psychotic disorder with
sign and symptoms compatible with both an
affective disorder and a schizophrenic disorder.
Schizocaria: An acute form of schizophrenia,
sometimes called catastrophic schizophrenia, in
which the patients personality deteriorates rapidly.
Schizoid personality disorder: A diagnostic category
for persons with defects in the capacity to form
social relationships but without order striking
communicative or behavioural eccentricities.
Schizoidia: Schizoidism; also used synonymously with
schizophrenic spectrum disorders to refer to a
variety of abnormalities that are found among nonschizophrenic relatives of schizophrenic patients.
Schizophasia: A variety of schizophrenia in which there
is gross speech disorder which is often in marked
contrast to the intelligence shown by the patients
general behaviour.
Schizophrene: One affected by schiophrenia.
Schizophrenese: The associational defects of the
schozophrenic patient as manifested in his speech.
Schizophrenia: Psychotic mental disorder characterized by disturbances in thinking, mood, and
behaviour. The thinking disturbance is manifested
by a distortion of reality, sometimes with delusions
and hallucinations, accompanied by fragmentation
of associations that results in characteristic disturbances of speech. The mood disturbance includes


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

ambivalence and inappropriate or constricted

affective responses. The behaviour disturbance
may be manifested by apathetic withdrawal or
bizarre activity. Formerly known as dementia preox,
schizophrenia as a term was introduced by Eugen
Bleuler. The causes of schizophrenia remain unknown. The types of schizophrenia include disorganized, catatonic, paranoid, undifferentiated, and
residual. See also Affect, blunted; Ambulatory
schizophrenia; Bleuler, Eugen; Burned-out schizopherenic; Catatonia; Hebephrenia; Latent schizophrenia; Schizoaffective disorder; Schizophreniform disorder.
Schizophrenia, latent: A term introduced by Bleuler
(1911) to designate a cluster of abnormal personality traits which he attributed to an underlying
schizophrenic process though positive evidence
of schizophrenia was lacking. Closely related
concepts are borderline schizophrenia and the
schizotypal personality disorder. In ICD-9, the
term is not recommended for general use but a
description is provided for those who believe it to
be useful: a condition of eccentric or inconsequent
behaviour and anomalies of affect which give the
impression of schizophrenia though no definite and
characteristic schizophrenic anomalies, present or
past, have been manifest. Synonyms: borderline
schizophrenia; pseudoneurotic schizophrenia;
pseudops- ychopathic schizophrenia; schizotypal
personality disorder; schizophrenia larvata.
Schizophrenia, paraphrenic: A term applied occasionally to paranoid schizophrenic illness of relatively
late onset in which the clinical picture is dominated
by systematized expansive or fantastic delusions.
In Leonhards schema paraphrenia is the preferred
term for all paranoid forms of schizophrenic psychosis within the systematic group of the disorder.
Schizophrenia, prepsychotic: A phase that precedes
the onset of a schizophrenic illness and in which
the patient deviates from the premorbid state

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


without exhibiting the characteristic symptoms of

the illness Synonym: prodromal schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia, residual: A chronic form of schizophrenia in which the symptoms that persist from
the acute phase have mostly lost their sharpness.
Emotional response is blunted and thought disorder, even when gross, does not prevent the
accomplishment of routine work. Synonyms:
chronic undifferentiated schizophrenia; Restzustand (schizophrenic); schizophrenic residual state;
Schizophrenic defect state.
Schizophreniform disorder: In DSM, a disorder similar
to schizophrenia except that it lasts less than 6
months but more than 1 week.
Schizotypal personality disorder: Diagnostic category
for persons who exhibit various eccentricities in
communication or behaviour, coupled with defects
in the capacity to form social relationships. The
term emphasizes a possible relationship with
schizophrenia. See also Latent schizophrenia,
Schizoid personality disorder.
Schnauzkrapnf: Term coined by Karl Luding Kahlbaum
(182899) for protrusion of the lips such that they
resemble a snout. The condition is found almost
exclusively in the catatonic form of schizophrenia.
School phobia: A young childs sudden fear of and
refusal to attend school. It is usually considered a
manifestation of separation anxiety.
Schreber case: One of Freuds cases. Daniel Paul
Schrebers published autobiographical account,
entitled Memoirs of a Neurotic (1903), was analyzed
by Freud in 1911. The analysis of those memoirs
permitted Freud to decipher the fundamental
meaning of paranoid processes and ideas,
especially the relationship between repressed
homosexuality and projective defenses.
Scopophilia: Pleasure in looking. Listed by classical
theory as one of the infantile, component
instincts. The spelling scoptophilia dates from a
mistake made by Freuds first translators.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Scotoma: In psychiatry, a figurative blind spot in a

persons psychological awareness. In neurology,
a localized visual field defect. See also Blind spot.
Scotomization: Defensive process by which the subject
fails (consciously) to perceive circumscribed areas
either of his environmental situation or of himself
(derived from Scotoma, a blank area in the visual
Screen memory: A childhood memory which is in itself
trivial but which can be treated as a dream, interpretation of its manifest content revealing a significant
latent content.
Screening: Initial patient evaluation that includes
medical and psychiatric history, mental status
evaluation and diagnostic formulation to determine
the patients suitability for a particular treatment
Secondary gain: The external gain derived from any
illness, such a personal attention and service,
monetary gain, disability benefits, and release from
unpleasant responsibility. See also primary gain.
Secondary process: In psychoanalysis, the form of
thinking that is logical, organized, reality oriented,
and influenced by the demands of the environment; it characterizes the mental activity of the ego.
See also Abstract thinking, Primary process, Reality
Sedative: A drug that produces a calming or relaxing
effect through central nervous system depression.
Some drugs with sedative properties are barbiturates, chloral hydrate, paraldehyde, and bromide.
See also Hypnotic.
Selection bias: The inadvertent selection of a nonrepresentative sample of subjects or observations.
A classic example is a 1936 Literacy Digest poll
which predicted Londons election over Roosevelt
because telephone directories were used as basis
for selection respondents.
Selective attention: Attention which is channeled
towards certain stimuli and ignores the presence

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


of others. The most well-known example of this is

when someone is concentrating on one particular
converzation among a large amount of background
noise, some of which may be actually louder than
the converzation being attended to. This was
dubbed the cocktail party effect in the 1950s, and
gave rise to a considerable amount of research,
often involving dichotic listening tasks and splitspan tasks. The research eventually gave rise to
several different filter theories, which eventually
showed that there is a considerable amount of
unconscious semantic processing even of unattended information.
Self: (1) The individuals perception or awareness of
herself or himself of his or her body, abilities,
personality traits, and ways of doing thing. (2) The
executive functions by means of which an
individual manages, copes, thinks, remembers,
perceives, and plans.
Self-actualization: See Actualization.
Self-analysis: Investigation of ones own psychic components. It plays a part in all analysis, although to
a limited extent, since few people are capable of
sustaining independent and detached attitudes to
the degree necessary for this approach to be therapeutic.
Self-awareness: Sense of knowing oneself, particularly
in terms of insight into ones own psychodynamics.
Self-awareness is a major goal of most psychotherapies.
Self concept: The sum total of the ways in which the
individual sees her or himself. Self-concept is often
considered to have two major dimensions: a
descriptive component, known as the self-image,
and an evaluative component, known as selfesteem, although in practice the term is more
commonly used to refer to the evaluative side of
Self-consciousness: An exaggerated awareness of
ones own behaviour, feelings and appearance,


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

combined with a belief that other people are equally

aware, interested, and critical. Self-consciousness
is often particularly extreme during adolescence.
Self-disclosure: The process through which one
person lets himself or herself be known by another.
Self-discovery: In psychoanalysis, the freeing of the
repressed ego in a person who has been brought
up to submit to the wishes of the significant others
around him.
Self-esteem: The personal evaluation which an
individual makes of her or himself; their sense of
their own worth, or capabilities. Excessively low
self-esteem is regarded as indicating a likelihood
of psychological disturbance, and is particularly
characteristic of depression. There are several
simple questionnaires which have been developed
for measuring self-esteem, as well as more sophisticated tests such as the Q-sort.
Self-fulfilling prophecy: A distortion of a event or
situation that eventually leads an individual to
behave as he is expected to behave by others in
his social setting. The classic example of the selffulfilling prophecy in action came from work by
Rosenthal, in which undergraduate students were
given a set of experimental rats to train in mazerunning. Despite the fact that there were no
observable behavioural differences between the
rats at the start of the experiment, the students
were told that they could expect some to be very
quick at learning the maze, while others would be
very slow. The rats performed according to these
predictions, because the predictions had induced
expectations on the part of the students which
affected how they handles the animals during
training. Further studies by Rosenthal and his
colleagues demonstrated the power of expectations held by teachers towards their pupils, and
the self-fulfilling prophecy is now considered to
be a major social influence which needs careful
control in psychological investigations. See also
experimenter effects.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Self-image: A persons conception of his own identity,

personality and worth as a person.
Self-perception theory: The idea that we gain knowledge about ourselves by observing our own
behaviour. e.g., I must have been hungry because
I ate an extra sandwich. Overtly such an approach
may appear native, yet there is considerable evidence to suggest that people do make attributions
about their own behaviour based on how they have
seen themselves acting or reacting. This was given
by Bem (1972).
Self-persuasion: The modifications of a persons beliefs
to become consistent with what they observe
about their own behaviour.
Self-realization: Psychodrama technique in which the
protagonist enacts, with the aid of a few auxiliary
egos, the plan of his life, no matter how remote it
may be from his present situation. For instance, an
accountant who has been taking singing lessons,
hoping to try out for a musical comedy part in
summer stock and planning to make the theater his
lifes work, can explore the effects of success in
that venture and of possible failure and return to
his old livelihood.
Self-reference: Term denoting a persons repeatedly
referring the subject under discussion back to
Self-schema: A cognitive generalization about the self,
derived from past experience that organizers and
guides the processing of self-related information
contained in the inviduals social experiences.
Self-system: Sullivans term for a personalty system
designed to ward off anxiety and preserve a
positive view of the self.
Semantic: To do with meaning, the intended communication or meaning which underlies any utterance
or signal. The word semantic usually used in
contrast with syntactic, referring to the structure


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

of the communication (e.g., sentence structure).

Such contrasts are particularly useful in examining
the use of language in communication.
Semantic conditioning: A conditioning process which
uses a stimulus-response form of learning like
operant or classical conditioning, in which the
individual is trained to respond to the meaning of
a word or phrase. Although the perception of
meaning is a cognitive rather than a behavioural
event, studies of semantic conditioning are report
to show all the characteristics of behavioural conditioning, such as generalization, discrimination, etc.
However, there is a certain amount of evidence to
indicate that semantic conditioning only works if
the subjects catch on to what the study is about,
and decide to cooperate.
Semantic differential: A method of measuring the
connotative meaning of words and concepts. See
connotative meaning.
Semantic memory: A long-term memory store containing the meanings of words, and concepts and the
rules for using them in language. Compare episodic
Semantic relations grammar: A theoretical approach
to understanding the way in which very small
children put word together, which emphasizes the
meaning, or intention, underlying the utterance.
The short sentences and limited utterances of the
child are viewed as telegraphic speech, signalling
the most important parts of the communications,
and only becoming more refined in terms of
additional words or word endings later on. The
theory was developed by Roger Brown in opposition to the view of language acquisition developed
by Chomsky, which largely ignored what the child
was intending to communicate and concentrated
instead on the structure of the utterance. See also
Semiotics: The study of pattern in communication of
all kings, including language, ritual, non-verbal

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


communication, animal communication, etc.

Although primarily concerned with the meanings
within such communication, the study of semeiotics also sees the form of the communication as
providing important clues to that meaning. In other
words, a clear distinction between meaning and
form is not considered appropriate, as the form will
influence the meaning, and the intended meaning
will affect the choice of the form. For example, a
reminder to staff in an office from the boss about
switching off unnecessary lights could be delivered as a spoken communication, a hand-written
memo, or a formally typed memo. Although the
words might be identical, the form affects the
meaning of the communication.
Senile dementia: Dementia secondary to diffuse
cerebral atrophy associated with advancing age.
The onset is insidious, and progression is slow
and gradual. No specific therapy is known. In DSM,
called primary degenerative dementia, senile onset.
Senzation: Feeling or impression when the sensory
nerve endings of any of the six senses taste,
touch, smell, sight, kinesthesia, and sound are
Sense of self: A persons feeling of individuality,
uniqueness, and self direction.
Sensitive period: A time period during development in
which a given capacity or form of learning can be
acquired more easily. Sensitive periods are
distinguished from critical periods by the fact that
the capacity can be acquired outside the set period,
though with greater effort.
Sensitivity training group: Group in which members
seek to develop self-awareness and an understanding of group processes, rather than to gain
relief from an emotional disturbance. See also
Encounter group, Personal growth laboratory,


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Sensori-motor stage: The first of Piagets four stages

of cognitive development, in which the immediate
cognitive task which the child faces concerns the
decoding of sensory information, and the coordination of motor action. The first step in achieving
this, according to Piaget, is the reduction of the
infants egocentricity to the point where it can
distinguish between me and not-me, and has
formed its first schema, the body-schema. Another
important milestone during this period is the
development of object constancy. See also preoperational stage, concrete operational stage,
formal operational stage.
Sensorium: Hypothetical sensory center in the brain
that is involved with a persons clarity of awareness about himself and his surroundings, including
the ability to perceive and process ongoing events
in light of past experience, future options and
current circumstances. It is sometimes used interchangeably with consciousness.
Sensory deprivation: Lack of external stimuli and the
opportunity for the usual perceptions. Sensory
deprivation may be produced experimentally or may
occur in real-life contexts for example, deep-sea
diving, solitary confinement, loss of hearing or
eyesight and may lead to hallucinations, panic,
delusions and disorganized thinking. See also
Deprivation, emotional.
Sensory extinction: Neurological sign operationally
defined as failure to report one of two simultaneously presented sensory stimuli, despite the
fact that either stimulus alone is correctly reported.
It is called sensory inattention.
Sentiment: A configuration of emotional dispositions
oriented about one cognition (of object, person,
group or symbol) and existing as a structured,
relatively abiding element in individual character
and social tradition.
Separation anxiety: The fear and apprehension noted
in infants when removed from the mother (or

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


surrogate mother) or when approached by strangers. Most marked from sixth to tenth month. In
later life, similar reactions may be caused by
separation from significant persons or familiar
Separation-individuation: Psychologic awareness of
ones separateness, described by Margaret Mahler
as a phase in the mother-child relationship that
follows the symbiotic stage. In the separation
individuation stage, the child begins to perceive
himself as distinct from the mother and develops a
sense of individual identity and an image of the
self as object. Mahler described four subphases
of the process: differentiation, practicing, rapprochement (active approach toward the mother, replacing the relative obliviousness to her that prevailed
during the practicing period), and separation
individuation proper (awareness of discrete identity,
separateness, and individuality). See also symbiosis.
Serial-position effect: The observation that in memory
experiments using a list of items to be remembered,
items at the beginning and end of the list of
remembered best.
Serial processing: The processing of information one
item at a time. Many early cognitive models assumes serial processing in, for instance, problemsolving or the decoding of language, although
recent evidence suggests that, in fact, information
is often processed on several levels simultaneously (parallel processing).
Serial reproduction: A technique for investigating
constructive memory developed by Barlett, in
which a first account is reproduced from memory,
and so on. In this way, errors and alterations which
occur in the accounts become cumulative, and
therefore easier to classify and categorize. One
everyday example of the use of serial reproduction
is in the game Chinese whispers, in which a
sentence or phrase is passed along a line of people,
each person passing the message on by whispering


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

into the ear of the next person. By the time the

message reaches the end of the line, it has usually
become completely distored.
Serotonin: Hydroxytryptamine (abbreviated 5-HT), an
endogenous indolamine synthesized from dietary
tryptophan and found in the gastrointestinal tract,
the platelets, and the central nervous system. There
is compelling evidence that is monoamine serves
as a neurotransmitter substance in the central
nervous system. It may play an important role in
such diverse functions as sleep, sexual behaviour,
aggressiveness, motor activity, perception (particularly pain), and mood. Dysfunction in central
serotonergic systems has been proposed as a
cause or factor in various mental disorders, including schizophrenia and the affective disorders.
Set: A state of preparedness or readiness for a particular
type of experience. Set may be demonstrated with
most forms of cognitive process, but the most
striking examples of it are perceptual set and
learning set. In each case, information which is
relevant to the prepared state is picked up far more
quickly and easily that information which is not
Set-weight: A pre-determined body weight, which
seems to form the natural weight of the animal
concerned. The idea of set-weight arose from
studies of the hypothalamus, in which it was
observed that rats with lesions in particular areas
of the hypothalamus would eat more than usual.
At first it was thought that these areas represented
feeling centres, but later findings showed that
the increased intake only lasted until they had
reached a certain body weight. At that point the
rats would adjust their food intake to stay at that
level. Experimental lesions in other areas of the
hypothalamus produced effects in the opposite
direction: rats would cease to eat until their body
weight had dropped to a certain point, whereupon

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


they would resume eating but eat only enough to

maintain the new body weight. It has been
suggested that similar mechanisms might be
implicated in the case of obesity in humans.
Sexism: Discrimination against a person on the basis
of their sex. It is often more subtle than racism
because it is likely to be based on assumptions
about sex differences which are widely held in
society. As many of these assumptions have been
developed to justify an unfair treatment of women
(see rationalization), sexism is often taken to mean
discrimination against women.
Sex-role behaviour: Behaviour which is influenced by
the persons beliefs about what is appropriate for
members of their own sex. The term can also be
used to refer to behaviour which conforms to
societys definition of appropriate gender behaviour.
Sex-role learning: The processes by which a child or
adolescent acquires an understanding of what is
appropriate behaviour for their own sex, as opposed to appropriate behaviour for members of the
other sex. Sex-role learning starts very early in life,
and three-ears-olds have quite a clear ideas of which
gender related behaviours their parents think are
Sex stereotypes: Beliefs which are held in the culture
about sex differences and appropriate sex-role
behaviour. Like all stereotypes they make a useful
starting point to know what to expect from a person,
but easily become misleading if used in preference
to observing what the person is actually like.
Sexual abuse: A form of child abuse in which children
are involved inappropriate sexual activities, mostly
with adults, and which is know to be psychologically damaging. Typical consequences involve
distoring the childs ability to form appropriate
relationships: limiting their ability to express
affection in non-sexual ways; sometimes producing a high level of sensitivity to sexual cues, and


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

tendency to misinterpret ordinary interactions as

sexual in content. Cases of child abuse are sometimes detected by signs of unhappiness and an
inability to concentrate at school. Since most cases
of child sexual abuse involve incest the victims are
often afraid of the consequences, and are therefore
reluctant to disclose the abuse. Help for individuals
who have been victims of sexual abuse depends
on the age at which it is identified, and may include
play therapy, family therapy, individual psychotherapy, or self-help groups.
Sexual delusion: See Delusion.
Sexual deviation: A mental disorder characterized
interests and behaviour other than what is culturally accepted. Sexual deviations include sexual
interest in objects other than a person, such as
bestiality; bizarre sexual practices, such as necrophilia; and other sexual activities that are not accompanied by copulation. See also Bestiality, Exhibitionism, Masochism, Paraphilia, Psychosexual disorder, Sadism.
Sexual drive: One of the two primal drives or instincts
(the other is the aggressive drive) according to
Freuds dual-instinct theory formulation in 1920.
Also known as life instinct or Eros, it operates under
the pleasure-unpleasure (pleasure-pain) principle,
and its main goal is to preserve and maintain life.
Its unconscious psychic energy is known as libido.
See also Aggressive drive, Death instinct, Life
Sexual identity: Biologically determined sexual state.
See also Gender identity.
Sexual masochism: See Masochism.
Sexual orientation disturbance: See Ego-dystonic
Sexual sadism: See Sadism.
Shaman: A healer in a primitive tribe who uses supernatural or spiritual powers to cure the sick.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Shame: An emotion resulting from the failure to live up

to self-expectations. See also guilt and superego.
Shaping: An operant conditioning technique used in
behaviour therapy. A behavioural goal is reached
in stepwise fashion through selective reinforcement
of closer and closer approximations of the desired
Shared paranoid disorder: A paranoid disorder in which
a paranoid delusional system develops as a result
of the persons close relationship with a paranoiac.
The two persons share at least some delusions. If
the person with the shared paranoid disorder is
separated from the person with the established
paranoid psychosis, the delusions diminish or
disappear as a rule. Term introduced in DSM-III.
See also Folie a deux.
Shell shock: Obsolete World War I term for an acute
mental disorder arising as a consequence of
combat experience.
Shinekeishitsu: A syndrome described by Japanese
psychiatrists consisting of obsessions, compulsive
perfectionism, social withdrawal, multiple somatic
complaints and neurasthenia.
Short-term memory: The reproduction, recognition,
or recall of perceived material after a period of 10
seconds or longer has elapsed after the initial
presentation. It is also known as recent memory.
See also Immediate memory, Long-term memory,
Shyness disorder: See Avoidant disorder.
Sibling rivalry: Competition among siblings for the
attention, affection, and esteem of their parents or
for other recognition or reward.
Sick role: An identity adopted by an individual as a
patient that specifies a set of expected behaviours, usually dependent.
Sign: Objective evidence of a disease or disorder. See
also Symptom.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Sign, echo: A speech disorder observed in epileptic

patients characterized by the repetition of a word
in some part of a sentence.
Sign, eyelash: In a case of unconsciousness due to
functional disease, such as hysteria, stroking the
eyelashes will make the lids move, but no such
reflex will occur in case of organic brain lesion such
as apoplexy, fracture of the skull, or other severe
Sign, eye-roll: An index of susceptibility to hypnosis
developed by psychiatrist Herbert Spiegel; the
subject is directed to roll his eyes upward as far as
possible and at the same time to lower his eyelids
slowly. The amount of white space showing under
the corneas is scored from zero (no space or eyeroll) to five. Low scores are not hypnotizable; they
tend also to be critical, controlling personally types
who favour thinking over feeling. The readily
hypnotizable high scorers tend to be uncritical and
gullible people who are feelers rather than
Sign, Magnan: Formication; cocaine bug, a tactile
hallucination found in some cocaine abusers
consisting of the feeling that small animals are
moving in or under the skin. The phenomenon was
first described by Magnan and Saury in 1889. It is
relatively rare and when it does appear it is usually
in association with intravenous use of the drug.
Sign, mirror: A symptom seen frequently in schizophrenic patients, who tend to stand in front of a
mirror or other shining surface for unduly long time.
The mirror sign is generally regarded as an expression of the patients autistic withdrawal.
The same sign can also occur in advanced organic
dementia (e.g., Alzheimers disease): The patient
sits for hours in front of a mirror, talking to his own
reflection; because of complete loss of personal
identity, the patient does not realize that the
reflection is his own.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Sign, Rosenbachs: (Ottomar Rosenbach, German

physician, 18511907). Inability of neurasthenics
to close the eyes immediately and completely on
Sign, Rumpf: (Theodor Rumpf, German physician,
18621923). In cases of neurasthenia pressure over
a painful point will accelerate the pulse from 10 to
20 beats/minute.
Sign, Schueles: (Heinrich Schuele. German psychiatrist, 18391916). See omega melancholium.
Sign, Stillers: (Berthold Stiller, Budapest physician,
18371922). The presence of floating tenth rib as
indicative of a neurasthenic tendency; called also
costal stigma.
Signal anxiety: Attenuated anxiety that functions as
an early warning system for the ego. It derives
from the normal capacity to anticipate a potentially
dangerous situation and react to it by deploying
emergency defenses before it becomes intense.
Signal anxiety may progress to a full-fledged anxiety
attack or even to a panic state if the early warning
is not heeded or if available defenses prove
insufficient. A situation becomes traumatic when
the influx of stimuli is too great for the psyche to
master or discharge.
Signal-detectability theory: A theory about how weak
signals are detected despite the presence of background noise. By making simplifying assumptions,
(in particular that only the level of noise and the
level or signal are to be considered, and that when
both are present the levels simply add to the total
sensation, rather than interacting or canceling each
other out) in has been possible to produce a
mathematical analysis of the process of detecting
signals. This approach has been effective in certain
restricted cases, and much of the theory is incorporated in the receiver-operating characteristic
Signal-detection task: A task used to investigate how
long to subject can perform effectively, when asked


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

to identify one particular type of signal appearing

at random intervals amid other distracting stimuli.
The task might be auditory: a tone lasting a bit
longer than other tones which are sounded at
intervals, for instance; or it might be visual, such
as the detection of one special shape appearing
among other shapes. Some signal detection task
are replications of the displays which a radar
operator would scan, allowing researchers to
identify potential source of error, and to investigate
possible alleviating measures.
Significance level: The arbitrarily selected probability
level for rejecting the null hypothesis, commonly
05 or .01.
Significant differences: When statistical tests show
that a given difference is not likely to have occurred
by chance. In many behavioural studies, the
likelihood of an event occurring less frequently
than 1 in 20 times (p<.05) is considered the minimal
acceptable significance level. The determination
that a given difference between two groups is
significant merely serve to identify the likelihood
that it was not a chance event. In no way does this
prove that the demonstrated systematic difference
is necessarily due to the reasons hypothesized by
an investigator. Systematic factors not considered
by the investigator can sometimes be responsible
for significant differences.
Simple phobia: A phobic disorder characterized by fear
and avoidance of an object or situation not included in agoraphobia or social phobia.
Simulation: Any process of modeling imitating an
actual, real-life event. The term is used in psychology to refer to: apparatus which mimics a real
situation in which training can be more safely
carried out, as in aeroplane cockpit simulators;
people who act as if they have psychological or
physical conditions, as in faking epileptic seizures;
and in computer simulation.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Simultanagnosia: Impairment in the perception or

integration of visual stimuli appearing simultaneously.
Simultaneous conditioning: A variant of classical
conditioning in which the unconditional stimulus
is presented at exactly the same time as the conditioned stimulus. See also trace conditioning, delayed, conditioning.
Sisyphus reaction: The behaviour pattern of joyless
striving in work and home life, setting the stage for
major illness or myocardial infarction.
Situational attribution: In attribution theory, this refers
to explaining a person's behaviour or experiences
as arising from the situation that they are in rather
than from the personality or other internal characteristic of that person (which would be dispositional attribution). See also attributional error.
Situationism: The view that behaviour is more a product
of a particular situation than a product of enduring
characteristics of a person such as traits.
Sixty-nine: A slang expression referring to fellatio and/
or cunnilingus practiced simultaneously by two
persons, the head of each being near the feet of
the other.
Sjobering, Henrik: (18791956) Swedish psychiatrist
described certain personality types and reactions
to stress as based on constitutional phychological
variables and cerebral lessions.
Skew: Overprotective, intrusive and dominant mother
and over compliant, submissive father is said to
lead to schizophrenic son. (given by Lidz, Cornelison, Fleck et al. 1957).
Skinner box: A device developed by B.F. Skinner for
investigating operant conditioning. A typical
Skinner Box will contain little other than a lever, a
food delivery chute, and a signal light. When a
hungry small animal such as a laboratory rat is
placed in the box, its exploratory behaviour eventually results in its pressing the lever; at which

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


point a food pellet is delivered. This reinforces the

lever-pressing action, rendering the animal more
likely to repeat it. This process results in the
learning of lever-pressing as a means of obtaining
food, although the experience of one of the authors
suggests that this only happens if the animal feels
inclined to co-operate, and is not inevitable. The
preliminary phase of getting the animal to push
the lever for the first time will be quicker if a behaviour shaping procedure is employed. The signal
light can be used as a discriminatory stimulus; and
the Skinner Box may be set to deliver partial
reinforcement according to a reinforcement schedule.

Food delivery chute

Fig. 12. Skinner Box.

Skills: An acquired ability to carry out more or less

complex psychomotor, acts in various domains,
including the visuospatial, symbolic, linguistic,
numeral, social, learning and specific.
Slater, Eliot, Trevor Oakeshort: (19041983) British
psychiatrist, one of the founding fathers of 20th
century biological psychiatry, best known for his
studies of the genetics of schizophrenia and manic
depressive illness. Physical Methods of Treatment
(1944, with W. Sargant); Clinical Psychiatry (1954,
with Mayer Gross and M. Roth; (The Genetics of
Mental disorders (1971, with V. Cowie).
Slavsom, S.R.: American theoretician who pioneered
in group psychotherapy based psychoanalytic
principles. Many of his concepts derived from his

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


work with children, including his introduction and

development of activity group therapy. See also
Activity group therapy, Collective experience.
Sleep: A recurred temporary period of relative unconsciousness, characterized by a reversible ceszation
of the persons waking sensorimotor activity and
accompanied by characteristic electroencephalographic changes. Sleep is divided into REM (rapid
eye movement) and non-REM (NREM) periods;
four stages of NREM sleep, based on EEG findings,
are recognized. See also REM sleep.
Sleep cycles: Pattern of sleeping which involve changes
in EEG recordings produced by a sleeper, and
corresponding differences in how easy the person
finds it to wake up. During a typical night, sleepers
pass through the different levels of sleep in a cyclic
fashion between five and seven times. Levels 1
and 2 are light sleep characterized by irregular EEG
patterns; the deeper levels 3 and 4 shows regular
wave patterns in EEG recordings. Typically, the
sleeper will cycle through the levels every 40 to 80
minutes, and then enter REM sleep for a period
before starting a new cycle. During a period of
normal sleep, deeper stages become shorter and
then cease completely, while the REM stage becomes, longer. See also rapid eye movement sleep;
orthodox sleep.
Sleep terror disorder: Condition occurring in stage 4
sleep manifested by panic, confusion, and poor
recall for the event. Contrast with nightmares.
Sleep-walking: A state of automatism occurring in the
course of normal sleep, most commonly in childhood, and sometimes related to emotional disturbance. Episodes of sleep-walking are characterized
by repetitive and purposeless movements with a
low level of awareness and critical skill which can
lead to self-injury; there is complete amnesia for
the events subsequently. The incidents occur during
sleep stages 3 and 4 but not during rapid-eyemovement (REM) sleep. Synonym: somnambulism.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Social adaptation: Adjustment to the whole complex of

interpersonal relationships; the ability to live and
express oneself in accordance with societys restrictions and cultural demands. See also Adaptational
Social breakdown syndrome: The signs and symptoms
indicating that the long term institutionalization of
a mental patient has itself contributed to the
patients symptoms. Examples include the development of progressive social and vocational incompetence, excessive passivity, and learning the chronic sick role.
Social clock: A societys timetable for the right
ages to marry, have children start work, retire, and
have other adult experiences.
Social cognition: An area in social psychology that
studies social influences on thought, memory,
perception, and other cognitive processes.
Social control: Influence exerted on a person or a group
of persons to conform to the demands or expectations of a society or any of its representative institutions, agencies, or organizations.
Social drift hypothesis: Given by Goldberg and
Morrison that the schizophrenics drift down the
social scale.
Social exchange theory: The idea that social relationships may be viewed as a kind of economic system
in which the people engaged in a relationship
become dependent on each other for the quality of
the outcomes they experience from the relationship;
involves comparison levels (CL) and comparison
levels for alternatives (Clalt).
Social facilitation: The finding that performance is
usually improved by the presence of others. Simple
and well rehearsed tasks are most likely to be
facilitated, so if the presence of others is a source
of arousal, the phenomenon follows the YerkesDodson law.
Social inhibition: In social groups, the retardation
action caused by the presence of other people.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Social instinct: See Herd instinct.

Social interaction: A process in which two people or
animals directly influence each others behaviour.
Social interactions is the core phenomenon of
social psychology, and the complex regulation of
forms of social interactions is an important part of
the young childs socialization.
Social interest: To Alfred Adler, the ability to feel empathy, to co-operate, and to be connected to others.
Social learning theory: An approach to child development which states that children develop through
learning from the other people around them. Social
learning theory emphasizes the process by which
children come to adopt the rules, norms and assumptions of their society, e.g., operant conditioning,
imitation, and identification. In general, social development is seen as a continuous learning process,
rather than as happening in stages and may theories
consider it to continue throughout adult life.
Social loafing: The rendency of group members under
some conditions, to reduce their efforts and loaf;
one result of the diffusion of responsibility.
Social modes: Campbells term for the acquisition of
information from other people; learning from other
people; useful in understanding conforming.
Compare personal modes.
Social motivation: See social motives.
Social motives: Learned motives, such as the need for
affiliation, power, competence, or achievement, that
are acquired from social experiences.
Social needs: The third level in Maslows hierarchy of
needs is concerned with group identity and
membership, love, and positive interaction with
others. According to Maslow, social needs become
important once the basis physiological needs and
the safety needs have been satisfied. Once the
social needs have been adequately met, aesthetic


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

needs become important. At the top of the hierarchy

is self-actualization, which Maslow considers to
be possible only once all other levels of need are
satisfied. Many psychologists criticize this model
of human needs on the grounds that it does not
account for many instances of human behaviour
which higher needs are apparently put before
basic ones, the classic example being the case of
the starving poet; there are also may examples of
pro-social behaviour in the face of physical deprivation.
Social network therapy: A type of therapy in which the
therapist assembles all the persons relatives,
friends, social relations, work relations who have
emotional or functional significance in the
patients life. All or some of the Social network
may be assembled at any given time. See also
Extended-family therapy.
Social norms: Forms of behaviour which are widespread
within a society and/or are widely accepted
appropriate. Often, it is the second condition which
is more important; for example, there are probably
far more people in our society who abuse children
than the number who work professionally for their
welfare and protection. Yet concern for children,
rather than abuse of them, is still accepted as the
norm. Acceptance of a person in a society is usually
based on the extent to which the person follows,
or at least expresses agreement with, the norms.
Social perception: The way we view other people,
based on information obtained about others and
attributions we make about the causes of their
Social perspective: A current viewpoint in psychology
which emphasizes the social interactions among
people and the social influences which affect
behaviour. See social psychology.
Social phobia: A phobic disorder characterized by a
fear of being observed by others. The social

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


phobias include fears of public speaking, blushing,

eating in public; writing in front of others, and using
public elevators.
Social psychiatry: Branch of psychiatry interested in
ecological, sociological and cultural variables that
engender, intensify, or complicate maladaptive
patterns of behaviour and their treatment.
Social psychology: The branch of psychology which
is particularly concerned with the nature and form
of social interaction and how people come to
influence each others behaviour. It also includes
the study of social perception, including attitudes
and attribution.
Social skills training: A practical procedure by means
of which new forms of social behaviour can be
learned or existing behaviour modified. The aim of
this training is to help clients to organize or improve
their social skills, namely behavioural sequences
that conform to social norms and which enable
people to achieve desired social goals more efficiently and acceptably.
Social therapy: A rehabilitation form of therapy with
psychiatric patients aimed at improving social
functioning. Occupational therapy, therapeutic
community, recreational therapy, milieu therapy,
and attitude therapy are forms of social therapy.
Social worker, psychiatric: A skilled professional,
trained in social work, who works with psychiatrists, usually in an institutional setting. The
psychiatric social worker evaluates family, environmental, and social factors in the patients illness;
may work in intake and reception with new patients;
and may follow up and counsel after discharge. All
those activities are incorporated in the technique
of case work. Psychiatric social workers also carry
out individual, family and group psychotherapy
and participate in community organizations.
Socialization: The process by which a child becomes
integrated into society by adopting its norms and


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

values, acquiring the necessary skills of social

interaction, and learning to adopt an acceptable
Sociobiology: The systematic study of the biological
basis of social behaviour. The field was pioneered
by E.O. Wilson.
Sociogram: Diagrammatic portrayal of the relationship
of every person to every other person in a group
Sociology: The scientific study of group behaviour and
social organization.
Sociometry: The study and measurement of the interpersonal psychological structure of a group or
Sociopath: Obsolete term for a person with an antisocial
personality disorder.
Sociotherapy: Any treatment modality whose primary
emphasis is on socio environment and interpersonal factors for example, the therapeutic
Sodomy: Anal intercourse. Legally, the term may include
other sexual deviations as well, such as bestiality.
Solipsism: Correctly, philosophical theory that only
the self is knowable or that the apparent external
world consists of our own thoughts.
Soma: The body.
Somatic delusion: See Delusion.
Somatic hallucination: See Hallucination.
Somatization disorder: A somatoform disorder
characterized by recurrent and multiple physical
complaints with no apparent physical cause. It is
also known as Briquets syndrome.
Somatoform disorder: A mental disorder characterized
by physical symptoms but no organic cause. The
production of the symptoms is linked to psychological factors or conflicts but is not under
voluntary control. In DSM the somatoform disorders include somatization disorder, conversion

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


disorder, psychogenic pain disorder, and hypochondriasis. See also Factitious disorder, Malignering,
Munchausen syndrome.
Somnambulism: Sleepwalking. More frequently seen
in males than in females, it is most common in
children, who generally outgrow it. In adults it is
often associated with other psychiatric disturbances, such as schizoid personality disorder and
schizophrenia. In DSM, it is included in sleepwalking disorder.
Somnolence: Pathological sleepiness or drowsiness
from which the patient can be aroused to a normal
state of consciousness.
Sopor: A state of marked drowsiness in which the patient
can make purposeful reactions to some stimuli.
Sorcery: It refers to the deliberate alteration of events
through magic and rituals for good or evil purposes.
Sorcery syndromes characterized by anxiety and
fears of preoccupation have been described in
Australian aborigines. In India, a kind of sorcery
called Bhanamati has been practiced for some
centuries in South India. The causes can be due to
psychiatric illnesses (i.e., conversion disorders,
somatization disorder, anxiety disorder, dysthymia,
schizophrenia etc) or physical illnesses.
Southard, Elmer Ernst (18761920): American
psychiatrist, social psychiatry, industrial hygiene.
Spasmophilia: (1) A neuropsychiatric syndrome,
described by Joyeux in 1958, consisting of moderate anxiety, irritability, hypermotility, insomnia,
dysfunction in various organ systems (gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, genital, skin) and positive Chvostek sign. All the symptoms may be
precipitated or aggravated by hyperventilation.
(2) In general and constitutional medicine, a
syndrome characterized by under secretion of the
Special child: A term adopted to refer to all children
whose qualities or abilities are well outside the


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

normal range. It represents an attempt to avoid the

automatically negative implications of terms like
mentally handicapped and retarded and to make
an association between children who need special
resources because of some disadvantage and
those who need special attention because they
are exceptionally gifted in some way. More recently,
the expression children with special needs has
been adopted to reduce the possibility of labelling.
Specific developmental disorder: A disorder characterized by delays in the development of specific
psychological functions involved in social skills
and language. A child with a specific developmental
disorder acts as though he were passing through
a developmental stage earlier than in appropriate
for his years. In DSM the specific developmental
disorders include developmental reading disorder,
developmental arithmetic disorder, developmental
language disorder, and developmental articulation
disorder. See also Pervasive developmental disorder.
Spectrophobia: The hysterical phobia for mirrors and
the dread of catching sight of ones own face in a
mirror had in one case a functional and material
Speech act: A term introduced by Buhler (1934) and
subsequently taken up by Austin (1962) who
stresses that in saying things speakers are actually
doing things.
Speech disturbance: A term that encompasses any of a
variety of language and communication disorders
not due to impaired function of speech muscles or
organs of articulation. See also Communication
disorder, Language disorder.
Speech therapy: The profession which helps people
who have some problem with verbal communication. Speech therapists use many techniques
from psychology, particularly behavioural methods,
and are increasingly paying attention to social
factors in the disruption of communication.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Spitz, Rene A. (18871974): Austrian born psychoanalyst; development studies; pioneer in applying
research methods to Freuds analytic concepts of
child development.
SST: (1) Social skill training (2) Self-statement training,
a cognitive approach to the treatment of agoraphobia that aims to replace self defeating cognitions with positive self-statements in confronting
and coping with the feared situation.
Stammering and stuttering: Disorders in the rhythm
of speech, in which the individual knows precisely
what he or she wishes to say, but at the time is
unable to say it because of an involuntary,
repetitive prolongation or ceszation of a sound.
Synonyms: logoneurosis; logospasm.
Standard deviation (SD): Statistical measure of
variability within a set of values so defined that,
for a normal distribution, about 68 per cent of the
values fall within one SD of the mean, and about
95 per cent lie within two SDs of the mean. It is
sometimes represented by Q, the Greek letter sigma.
Standard error of the mean (SEM): Statistical measure
of how variable that is, how reliable a mean
value calculated on the basis of a given samples is
as an estimate of the true mean of the population
from which the sample was selected. It is obtained
by dividing the standard deviation of the population by the square root of the number of measures
in the sample.
Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale: A primarily verbal
test of intellectual functioning administered individually to children and adults. It emphasizes
problem solving and is one of the most widely used
I.Q. tests. See also Intelligence quotient.
Startle reaction: A reflex response to a sudden intense
stimulus, consisting of a diffuse motor response
involving flexion movements of the trunk and
extremities (hence, in German, Zusammenschrekenreflex) and associated with a sudden increase in


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

alertness. It occurs in normal persons and in acute

anxiety disorders.
State-dependent learning: Learning which is demonstrated most effectively when the individual is in
the same physiological state as when it was originally learned. For instance, information learned
when a subject is under the influence of alcohol is
often most readily recalled at times when the subject
is again under the influence. State-dependent
learning may similarly be demonstrated with a range
of drugs, including amphetamines and tranquilizers.
States in creative thinking: A pattern of steps that is
frequently involved in the solution of problems by
talented and creative people, the stages are preparation, incubation, illumination, evaluation, and
Statistical inference: The process of using a limited
sample of data to infer something about a large
population of potentially obtainable data which
has not been observed.
Statistical significance: Research term referring to an
experimental result, based on a sample of observations, that demonstrates an outcome or effect of
sufficient magnitude alone in less than 5 per cent.
See also Type 1 error.
Status: Relative position, rank, or standing of a person
in a group of a group in reference to other groups
or in reference to some larger grouping.
Status epilepticus: Continuous epileptic seizures. See
also Epilepsy.
Stedman, Charles H.: (180566) American Psychiatrist;
one of the original thirteen founders of Association
of Medical Superintendents of America (forerunner
of American Psychiatric Association).
Stekel, Wilhelm (18681940): Viennese psychoanalyst who suggested the formation of the first
Freudian group, the Wednesday Evening Society.
A man given to intuition, rather than to systematic

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


research, his insight into dreams proved stimulating and added to the knowledge of symbols.
Nevertheless, his superficial wild analysis proved
incompatible with the Freudian school. He
introduced the word Thanatos to signify death
Steppingstone theory: The assumption that use of
gateway drugs (such as alcohol and marihuana)
predisposes to use and abuse of other classes of
(harder) drugs.
Stereotyped movement disorder: A disorder characterized by recurrent, involuntary, repetitive gross
motor movements. In DSM the stereotyped
movement disorders include transient tic disorder,
chronic motor tic disorder, and Gilles de la Tourettes
Stereotype: Continuous mechanical repetition of speech
or physical activities. It is observed in cases of
catatonic schizophrenia.
Stilted speech: Excessively formal, stiff, stylized, or
pompous speech; overly polite, distant, or antiquated speech.
Stimulant: A drug that stimulates the central nervous
system to produce increased psychomotor activity.
Methylphenidate, caffeine, and the amphetamines
are examples.
Stimulus: Any event, internal or external to the person,
that elicits some kind of nervous system activity
or response.
Stimulus discrimination: The form of discrimination
shown in stimulus response learning, in which a
response will occur to one specific stimulus, but
will not occur in the presence of a similar stimulus.
Unlike stimulus generalization which occurs
without prior training, stimulus discrimination is
learned by the organism through reinforcement.
Responses made in the presence of one stimulus
are reinforce, those made to the other are not. In
this way, the organism comes to discriminate
between the two.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Stimulus generalization: When a learned response is

produced to a Stimulus different from the one to
which it war originally learned. Stimulus generalization often shows the generalization gradient that
the response is strongest to those stimuli which
are most similar to the original one.
Stimulus-response learning: Learning which occurs
as a result of the association between a Stimulus
and some kind of behavioural response. In general,
there are thought to be two basic forms of Stimulus
response learning; classical conditioning and
operant conditioning. Some psychologists classify
one-trial learning, in which such an association is
formed as a result of only one learning trial or experience, as third form; others regard it as a special
form of classical conditioning.
Stockholm syndrome: A syndrome in which captives
identify with, and have sympathy for, their captors
on whom they are very dependent for survival.
First described in a Stockholm bank robbery where
hostages were so affected by their captor bank
robbers. Also seen in terrorist-hostage situations.
The major defense mechanism as described by
Anna Freud was known as identification with the
Stransky, Erwin (18771962): Viennese neurophsychiatrist pupil of Wagner von Jauregg; first to
publish text book in Germany on mental health;
concept of intrapsychic ataxia, the dissociation of
the thymopsyche from the noopsyche, as the
essential characteristic of schizophrenia.
Strephosymbolia: A type of reading and writing disability characterized by confusion between similarly
formed but oppositely oriented letters (as in b and
d, p and q) and a tendency to reverse the order of
letters and words. Commonly seen in Attention
Deficit Disorder.
Stress: A term introduced into human physiology by
Cannon in the early 1920s to denote all physical,

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


chemical and emotional stimuli which exceed a

certain critical threshold and disrupt the equilibrium
of the internal milieu of the organism. In the general
adaptation syndrome described by Selye (1950)
the term changed its meaning and became a
common denominator for the nonspecific responses of the organism to such stimuli. In current usage
it is used interchangeably to describe various aversive stimuli of excessive intensity; the physiological, behavioural and subjective response to them;
the context mediating the encounter between the
individual and the stressful stimuli; or all the above
as a system. The term is clearly overstretched
and should be used sparingly.
Stress immunity: Failure to react to emotional stress.
Structuralism: An approach to theory in which
psychological phenomena are explained as the
natural outcome of the way the organism is structures. The proposed structures may be physical
and open to direct examination (e.g., accounts of
aggression based on interpreting brain structure)
or hypothetical. Examples of the latter are Freuds
personality structure and Piagets cognitive
structures. Structural approaches in anthropology
and sociology are concerned with the social structures within which people function, though these
are often taken to be outward manifestations of
mental structures. The term is also applied to
attempts to understand how language works by
examining its structure. Structural theories are
contrasted with functional approaches.
Structured interactional group psychotherapy: A type
of group therapy developed by Harold Kaplan and
Benamin Sadock in which the therapist provides a
structural matrix for the groups interactions, the
most important of which is that a different member
of the group is the focus of the interaction in each
Study skills: The set of techniques, strategies and behaviour patterns which form a structured approach


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

to learning; often based on psychological theory,

but also on experiences acquired and transmitted
less formally. Study skills can be related to the
theoretical area of recognition, but is usually
treated as a separate topic in its own right. It
includes such features of effective study as reading
skills, effective revision techniques, organizing
study time, and examination strategies.
Stupor: State of decreased reactivity to stimuli and less
than full awareness of ones surroundings. As a
disturbance of consciousness, it indicates a condition of partial coma or semicoma. In psychiatry, it
is also used synonymously with mutism and does
not necessarily imply a disturbance of consciousness, in catatonic stupor the patient is ordinarily
well aware of the nature of his surroundings.
Stuttering: A speech disorder characterized by repetitions or prolongations of sounds, syllables, or
words or by hesitations and pauses that disrupt
the flow of speech. It is also known as stammering.
Subconscious: Obsolete term for the preconscious and
the unconscious.
Subjectivity: State in which evaluation and interpretation are influenced by ones own feeling and
Sublimation: An unconscious defense mechanism in
which the energy associated with unacceptable
impulses or drives is diverted into personally and
socially acceptable channels. Unlike other defense
mechanisms, sublimation offers some minimal
gratification of the instinctual drive or impulse.
Substance use disorder: The DSM-IV term for drug
dependence. See also Drug dependence.
Substitution: An unconscious defense mechanism in
which a person replaces an unacceptable wish,
drive, emotion, or goal with one that is more

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS): Also called cot

death or crib death. Babies appear to go through a
vulnerable period around 2 to 4 months and during
this time a significant number are found dead in
their cots, having shown little or no sign of illness
or any other warning sign. Some research suggests
that it may be associated with a failure to learn
how to restart breathing early in life following
apnea, but most research has concentrated on
possible medical causes. Cot deaths are of major
concern to psychologists because they are relatively common and an extremely distressing form
of bereavement.
Suggestion: The process of influencing a patient to
accept an idea, belief, or attitude suggested by the
therapist. See also hypnosis.
Suggestibility: State of uncritical compliance with
influence or uncritical acceptance of an idea, belief,
or attitude. It is commonly observed among
persons with hysterical traits.
Suicide: The act of self-inflicted, self-intentioned taking
of ones own life. Although the underlying factors
that lead a person to take his or her own life may
not necessarily by fully understood by that person,
the act of suicide is considered to be both voluntary and intentional.
Sullivan, Harry Stack (18921949): American
psychiatrist and psychoanalyst know for his
research in the psychotherapy of schizophrenia
and for his view of complex interpersonal relationships as the basis of personality development.
Summation: The cumulative effect of several neurons
transmitting information to one neurone at the same
time. If a single synaptic transmission is received,
from one other neurone only, it is unlikely to be
enough to produce a response in the next cell. But
the total effect brought about by several receptor
sites receiving the neurotransmitter at the same
time will produce the effect.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Superego: In psychoanalysis, the part of the personality

structure that represents the internalized values,
ideals and moral attitudes of society. Its psychic
functions are expressed in guilt, self-critism, and
conscience. It develops through the childs identification with his parents, and the severity of its
prohibition of the demands is said to be related to
the intensity and extent of resolution of the Oedipus
complex. It has a rewarding function, referred to as
the ego ideal, and a critical and punishing function,
which evokes the sense of guilt. See also Conscience, Ego, Id.
Supportive psychotherapy: A type of psychotherapy
that aims to reinforce a patients defenses and help
suppress disturbing psychological material. Supportive psychotherapy utilizes such measures as
inspiration, reassurance, suggestion, persuasion,
counseling, and reduction. It avoids probing the
patients emotional conflicts in depth. See also
Suppression: Conscious act of controlling and inhibiting an unacceptable impulse, emotion, or idea.
Suppression is differentiated from repression in
that repression is an unconscious process.
Surface contact: The second level of involvement in
the growth of relationships; interactions are governed by general cultural norms specifying
appropriate behaviour and social etiquette. Compare unilateral awareness, stage of mutuality.
Surface structure: The actual expression in speech of
the core ideas in the deep phrase structure; the
deep phrase structure is converted into the surface
structure by transformation rules. See transformational grammar.
Surrogate: Substitute; one who takes the place of
Susto: Culture-specific mental syndrome seen in Latin
America. It is characterized by an intense fear of
evil supernatural forces; Fallen fontanel syndrome.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Symbiosis: A dependent, mutually reinforcing relationship between two persons. It is generally a normal,
constructive characteristic of the infant-mother
relationship, but it can also occur in a destructive
context, as between two mentally ill persons who
reinforce each others pathology or in motherinfant relationship that induces in the childs
intense separation anxiety, autism, and severe
regression (symbiotic psychosis).
Symbiotic psychosis: A condition seen in two-to four
year-old children with an abnormal relationship to
a mothering figure. The psychosis is characterized
by intense separation anxiety, severe regression
giving up of useful speech, and autism.
Symbolic representation: The third of the modes of
representation described by Bruner, in which
information is stored as symbols, such as numbers,
words, or signs. Bruner argues that this mode of
representation enables the child to organize and
categorize information, and to perceive relationships which might not otherwise have been readily
identifiable. As such, he regards the development
of symbolic representation, especially through the
use of language, as being of paramount importance
in cognitive development. See also enactive representation, iconic representation.
Symbolization: A general mechanism in all human
thinking by which some mental representation
comes to stand for some other thing, class of
things, or attribute of something. This mechanism
underlies dream formation and some symptoms,
such as conversion reactions, obsessions, and
compulsions. The link between the latent meaning
of the symptom and the symbol is usually unconscious.
Sympathy: A feeling or capacity for sharing in the
interests or concerns of another. Many arise when
there is no emotional attachment to the person
towards whom one is sympathetic, since the feelings of the sympathetic person remain essentially
internal. Contrast with empathy.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Symptom: Any abnormality indicative of a mental or

physical disorder experienced by the patient but
not observable by a physician. See also Sign.
Symptom formation: Unconscious psychic process in
which a repressed impulse is indirectly released
and manifested through a symptom. Symptom
formation may be regarded as a kind of compromise,
reflecting a partial satisfaction of both the
forbidden impulse and the ego reaction against it.
Symptom substitution: Phenomenon in which a set of
Symptoms that are removed directly in therapy,
without regard for the unconscious conflicts
responsible for their formation, are replaced by new
Symptoms. It has constituted a theoretical
objection to such modalities as behaviour therapy
and hypnotherapy.
Symptomatic psychosis: A physically induced usually
short lived psychotic state accompanying infections, systemic, visceral and endocrine disease,
and pregnancy and the puerperium. The clinical
features are most often those of clouded consciousness, a dysmnesia state, depression, or psychomotor excitement, but syndromes resembling
closely the ; functional psychoses have also been
described, Causal factors can include metabolic
and toxic disturbances and a constitutional
predisposition. In ICD-9 an additional code had
been added to identify the associated physical or
neurological condition. Synonym: transient organic
psychotic conditions.
Syncretic thought: Piagets term for prelogical, egocentric, solipsistic thinking that characterizes early
childhood mentation. See also Primary process.
Syndrome: Recognizable constellation of symptoms
and signs.
Syndrome, air pollution: Symptoms associated with
exposure to air pollutants, such as headache, fatigue,
irritability, depression, and impaired judgement.
Syndrome, amotivational: Passivity, lack of interest, loss
of drive, dropping out, and difficulties in attention

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


and concentration, described by some as the usual

effect of long-term marihuana use. Some use the
phrase a motivational states to refer to deficit
symptoms in schizophrenia. See symptoms, deficit;
symptoms, negative.
Syndrome, angry woman: A personality disorder
described in house wives consisting of a morbidity,
critical attitude to others, perfectionism, obsessive
neatness and punctuality, marital maladjustment,
proneness to alcohol or drug abuse, periodic outbursts of unprovoked anger, and serious suicide
Syndrome, battered child: Term coined by pediatrician
C.H. Kempe in the 1960s denoting physical injuries
to children secondary to intentional acts of omission
or to repeated, volitional, excessive beatings, by a
parent or caretaker. Other than the obvious immediate dangers to the childs life and adequate
physical growth, it is possible that such cruelty
and abuse may constitute a long-term hazard in
that it predisposes to a psychic development along
the lines of delinquency and violence.
Syndrome, body-packer: Drug overdose as a result of
the ingestion of multiple small packages of
contraband drugs (most commonly cocaine) in
order to transport them. Rupture of the package or
leaking from semipermeable wrappings (such as
condoms) results in acute drug intoxication and,
often, death.
Syndrome, Briquets: Hysterial, so-named because
P. Briquet was the first to describe hysteria systematically, in 1859, some use the eponym to refer
specifically to the polysymtomatic form of hysteria
with many visits to different physicians, excessive
medications, excessive hospitalizations, and
excessive surgery. Criteria for the diagnosis of
Briquets syndrome include (1) vague or dramatic
medical history beginning before the age of 35
years. (2) a history of multiple symptoms (usually
not less than 20) severe enough to interfere


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

significantly with the patients life and/or to require

medication or a visit to a physician, and (3) a lack
of any medical explanation for the symptoms. See
Syndrome, buffoonery: The buffoonery syndrome is
not always easily separated from catatonic states.
In this syndrome the entire picture is taken up with
playing demonstrative striking tricks, and with
giving wrong answers; like the Ganser twilight state
in probably only occurs as a reaction to a situation
from which unconsciously one wants to escape
through insanity. (Bleuler, TP)
Syndrome, Capgrass: The delusional belief in the
existence of identical doubles of significant others
or of oneself or both such as the delusion that
ones spouse has been replaced by one or more
imposters. The syndrome was first described in
1923 by J. Capgras and Reboul-Lachaux and is also
known as illusions of doubles or illusions of false
recognition. It is to be distinguished from autoscopy, defects of memory, perception, or recognition, hallucination, illusion and prosopagnosia.
The Capgras delusion is a negative misidentification that denies the genuineness of a known
person (through admitting of a resemblance), in
contrast, Fregolis phenomenon (the illusion de
Fregoli, the illusion of a negative double) is a
positive misidentification, consisting of a belief that
a prosecutor has assumed the guise of various
people whom the subject encounters in his daily
life. (Fregoli was an actor famed for his ability to
alter his appearance.) See syndrome, intermetamorphosis.
Syndrome, Cinderella: Simulation of neglect, or false
accuzation of neglect by a child, such as an adopted
childs allegation (unfounded) that her stepmother
made her do all the household chores and then left
her unclothed in a snowdrift while the stepmother
went off to the movies with her other children.
Syndrome, clinical poverty: Consisting of slowness,
underactivity, reduced emotional responsivity, and

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


impaired ability to communicate (as manifested, for

example, in a wooden expression, monotonous
voice, lack of gesturing, poverty of speech content).
The clinical poverty syndrome is a type of longterm impairment or disability that tends to persist
in may schizophrenics even after acute symptoms
have subsided.
Syndrome, Cotards: (Jules Cotard, French neurologist,
184087) Delire de negation(s); the nihilistic
delusion(s) found in severe depression, when the
patient feels his head or bowels have been
destroyed, his family has been exterminated, he is
penniless, etc.
Syndrome, deliberate self-harm: Conscious and willful
inflicting of painful, destructive, or injurious acts
on ones own body without intent to kill. Typically
the subject feels mounting tension and an impelling
impulse to act, followed by a feeling of relief after
the injury has been inflicted on the self. The most
frequent amputation (e.g., tongue or ear), biting,
burning, enucleation of the eye, genital mutilation
including castration, removal of the tongue, head
banging, ingestion of medications and other
objects, jumping from heights, hair pulling, and
insertion of foreign bodies into the urethra.
The syndrome most commonly begins in late
adolescence and continues for many years. It
probably occurs most often in borderline or
schizophrenic patients, in order to (1) relieve
feelings of depersonalization; (2) lessen inner
tensions; (3) solve genital conflicts (4) reassure
the subject that he or she is alive by seeing his
own blood; (5) deny inability to control the body
by planning its destruction. Also called parasuicide, self-attack, self-mutilation, symbolic
wounding. See suicide, attempted.
Syndrome, Delilah: Promiscuity in a woman for whom
seduction of the partner is equated with rendering
him weak or helpless, something she would like to
have achieved with her dominating and exploitative


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Syndrome, displaced child: A form of separation

phenomenon, often precipitated in a child by the
birth of a sibling. Symptoms include a mixture of
irritability, discouragement, jealousy of siblings,
and feelings of rejection by other children.
Syndrome, effort: Neurocirculatory asthenia.
Syndrome, Ekboms: Restless legs syndrome (q.v.);
when it occurs spontaneously it is often associated
with low serum iron. Akathesia as a side effect of
neuroleptic administration is similar in appearance
and may also be associated with iron deficiency.
Even though not anemic, such patients show low
serum iron and percentage saturation, and high
total iron-binding capacity. Further, the lower the
serum iron the more severe the Akathesia.
Syndrome, fetal alcohol: A pattern of retarded physical
and mental growth, with associated cranial, facial,
limb, and cardiovascular anomalies, that is found
in 30 to 50% of the offspring of severely alcoholic
mothers. Damage to the fetus by maternal alcoholism is one of the most common recognizable causes
of mental retardation. The affected children do not
typically catch up in their growth patterns, even
when given a nutritionally adequate diet. The basis
for the syndrome is believed to be a direct toxic
effect of alcohol and/or one of its intermediate
breakdown products on the fetal brain.
Syndrome, fragile X: A chromosomal disorder consisting of a gap or constriction at the distal end of the
long arm of the X chromosome at Xq28, resulting
in the appearance of an X chromosome with a
satellite and a tendency to break easily.
The fragile X chromosome is definitely associated
with mental retardation in males. Macroorchidism
is a strong phenotypic indicator of the presence of
a fragile X and of retardation.
The disorder is believed to occur in 1 of ever 2,000
to 3,000 male births, making it second only to
Downs syndrome as a cause of retardation, even

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


though relatively few females are affected. A male

born to a mother with fragile X chromosome has a
50% chance of manifesting the disorder.
There may be an association between fragile X
chromosome and dyslexia (primary learning
disability) but contrary to earlier claims there is
little evidence for an association between fragile X
and autism.
Syndrome, Freuds: P. Janet coined this expression:
The mania for repression .. is still an interesting
symptom; and it explains certain remarkable
phenomena, such as monstrous and acrilegious
longings. It will continue to form a part of mental
pathology under the name of Freuds syndrome.
Syndrome, Ganser: (Sigbert J.M. Ganser, German
psychiatrist, 18531931) One of factitious disorder;
the Ganser twilight syndrome is factitious disorder
with psychological symptoms, while the Munchhausen syndrome is factitious disorder (chronic)
with physical symptoms. The Ganser syndrome is
also known as the nonsense syndrome or
syndrome of deviously relevant answers; it is held,
hope to be treated leniently by the court in virtue
of their malady. It is described by many
investigators as a hysterical reaction. The patient
seldom does anything correctly. When shown a
watch reading 3:30, the patient may say it read 5:00;
when shown a glove he says it is a hand; he
designates a 50-cent piece as a dollar bill; calls a
key a lock. But in addition to such approximate
answers, which may be seen also in hysterical
pseudodementia, behaviour, with episodes of
excitement or stupor, as though the subject were
acting out an artificial psychosis (neuromimesis).
Syndrome, general adaptation: The various changes
in the body in response to and/or as defense
against stress. Selye distinguishes three stages in
this syndrome; the alarm reaction, in which
adaptation is not yet acquired; the stage of resistance in which adaptation is optimal; and the stage


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

of exhaustion, in which the acquired adapta- tion

is lost again.
Syndrome, Gjessings: (jesing) Recurrent episodes of
catatonic stupor or excitement occurring in schizophrenics and associated with phasic variations in
the nitrogen metabolism; first described by
R. Gjessing in 1938. The syndrome is related to
inadequate metabolism of dietary protein, leading
to periods of nitrogen retention that are concurrent
with hyper or hypokinetic episodes. Dietary
regulation is sometimes enough to control such
patients: in others, thyroid administration
increases nitrogen output with corresponding
improvement in mental state.
Syndrome, holiday: Sadness, anxiety, or other emotional
pain reflected in increased rates of suicide,
hospital admissions, and deaths in automobile,
accidents occurring during the period between
Thanksgiving and New Years Day. The syndrome
appears to be an expression of unmet dependency
needs triggered by the reminiscing and loving
aspects of the holiday season.
Syndrome, hyperventilation: Formerly termed DaCostas syndrome, effort syndrome, irritable heart,
neurocirculatory asthenia, soldiers heart, war
Syndrome, intensive care: Psychosis appearing in
patients in postoperative recovery units or in intensive care units. Significant factors contributing to
the development of such a complication include
the following: (1) the physical conditions of the
unit itself often impersonal, highly mechanized,
unfamiliar, isolated, windowless, and in certain
ways a type of sensory deprivation experience;
(2) the physical condition of the patient within the
unit is usually immobilized to a severe degree and
in considerable discomfort; (3) the nature of the
underlying pathology, including the medicalsurgical complications and the age of the patients,

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


and the effects these have on brain function;

(4) the effects of medication and operative procedures on brain function; and (5) the premorbid level
of functioning, including personality structure and
genetic-constitutional factors.
Syndrome, intermetamorphosis: Delusional conviction
that various people in ones environment have been
transformed physically and psychologically into
other people. Intermetamorphosis differs from
Fregolis phenomenon, which also involves false
identification, in that it includes false physical
resemblance in addition to false recognition. See
syndrome, Capgrass.
Syndrome, Mains: The ability of a patient (usually a
female psychotic who is a nurse or is otherwise
closely related to the field of medicine, and part of
whose productions include recounting long-continued incestuous relationships) to extort frantic
sympathy and remarkable therapeutic privilege
from her attendants, and to imbue doctor or nurse
with a vivid sense of private significance for the
patient, of being peculiarly attuned to her. The
syndrome was first described by T.F. Main in 1957.
Syndrome, maternal deprivation: The psychobiologic
response to withdrawal or withholding of the
emotional, affection, cognitive, or other supplies
needed for proper development that ordinarily are
provided by the mother. Most typically, it appears
in children without mothers who are reared in institutions, in children who for one reason or another
are separated from the mother at an early age, and
in children whose mothers are incapable of providing consistently suitable emotional support for
their children. See depression, anaclitic; deprivation, emotional.
Syndrome, Munchhausen: A name suggested by Asher
in 1951 to refer to patients who wander from hospital
to hospital (hospital hoboes), feigning acute


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

medical or surgical illness and giving false and

fanciful information about their meditation of the
affected in their thirties or forties. Early symptoms
are blank facies, an unblinking stare, loss of initiative, short attention span, loss of remote memory,
failure to understand verbal orders, difficulty in
walking because of spasticity, and dysarthria.
Extrapyramidal and cerebellar signs, if present at
all, appear late in the course of the disorder. No
specific treatment is applicable, and although no
underlying metabolic disorder, a specific enzyme
defect, probably limited to the metabolism of
nervous issue, is suspected.
Syndrome, night-eating: A type of eating disorder that
occurs in some obese patients consisting of nocturnal hyperphagia, incomnia, and morning anorexia.
The syndrome tends to appear episodically, and
during such periods weight control is especially
difficult or even impossible for the patient. A
second type of eating pattern found in obese
patients is binge eating consumption at irregular
intervals of large quantities of food in an orgiastic
manner. A third pattern is eating without saturation,
seen most frequently in patients with central nervous system disturbances, and characterized by
overeating without relationship to stress situations
and without regular periodicity.
Syndrome, nonsense: Popular synonym for Ganser
syndrome (q.v.).
Syndrome of approximate answers: See answers,
syndrome of approximate; syndrome Ganser.
Syndrome, persecution: Described in war refugees with
concentration camp experience or those who are
persecuted in flight; consists of pervasive anxiety,
over-reactivity, irritability, chronic depression, psychosomatic disturbance, and defense by means of
dehumanization and unconscious identification
with the aggressor. The social contacts and
marriages of those with the syndrome are likely to
be confined to others who have had similar experi-

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


ences. See neurosis, traumatic; post-traumatic

stress disorder.
Syndrome, phantom lover: Erotomania (q.v.).
Syndrome, pickwickian: Alveolar hyperventilation
syndrome: obesity associated with hypersomnolence (especially, daytime sleepiness, hypoventilation, and polycythemia, and often also with twitching movements, cyanosis, periodic respira tions,
congestive heart failure, arterial hypoxia and hypercapnia and rightward axis deviation on electrocardiogram. The syndrome may sometimes be
reversed by weight loss. Although the pathophysiology of the syndrome is poorly understood, the
drowsiness, sleep, and muscular twitching appear
to be related to hypercapnia, while poly- cythemia
and cyanosis appear to be related to arterial hypoxia.
See eating disorders; syndrome, Kleine-Levin.
Syndrome, post-torture: A Dutch study of refugees
from nine countries examined symptoms immediately following torture, complaints at the time
were widely divergent. Psychic problems were
particularly pronounced. There is not enough
evidence to justify the term post-torture syndrome,
an analogy with post-concentration camp syndrome.
The question remains if a clearly developed syndrome will appear with passage of time.
Syndrome, premenstrual (PMS): Changes in mood,
behaviour, cognition and somatic functioning seen
in some women in relation to the menstrual cycle.
Symptoms usually begin a few days before the
onset and end shortly after the onset of a menstrual
period; most frequently reported symptoms are
anxiety, irritability, depressed mood, breast tenderness, abdominal discomfort, and a feeling of
distention. It is generally assumed that endocrine
abnormalities are a major factor in producing the
syndrome, but evidence for the assumption is no
stronger than the evidence implicating psycho-


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

logical factors as the major cause. See late luteal

phase dysphoric disorder.
Syndrome, prisoner of war (POW): Psychopathologic
manifestations occurring in prisoners of war,
presumably a reaction to capture and imprisonment.
Various types of reaction have been described,
among them a syndrome of withdrawal, apathy,
and sometimes death, which has been likened to
the anaclitic depression reported by Spitz in hospitalized or otherwise deprived children.
Syndrome, psychomimic: Symptoms without organic
basis that resemble the illness of another, typically,
the latter illness has been fatal to an ambivalently
related person, and the psychomimic syndrome
often occurs on or near the anniversary of the
others death.
Syndrome, Puerto Rican: Fighting sickness; male de
palea; a culture-specific syndrome consisting of
an initial brooding period followed by agitation
and striking out against anyone the subject encounters.
Syndrome, savant: A rare disorder in which severe
developmental or psychiatric handicap is combined
with islands of remarkable ability, usually artistic
or memory-related, that stand out in sharp contrast
to the otherwise permeating disability.
Syndrome, silver cord: A family constellation consisting of a passive or absent father and a dominating
mother, believed by some to be significantly related
to the subsequent of schizophrenia. See mother,
Syndrome, social breakdown: The deterioration in
social abilities, interpersonal relationships, and
general behaviour that frequently accompanies
organic and functional psychoses ( and especially
the schizophrenias). The term emphasizes the belief
that such personality distortions, rather than being
a inherent part of the psychotic process, are instead
a reaction to the patients environment; the male
patient who is isolated from women will no longer

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


make attempts to be attractive to the oppositive

sex, the person who is deprived of all purposeful
activity or removed from any meaningful occupation will have no reason to keep tract of time,
etc. The social breakdown syndrome occurs in
many situations mental hospitals, prisons, concentration camps, etc. See psychiatry, community.
Syndrome, Strauss: See impulse disorder, hyperkinetic.
Syndrome, survivor: Any number of symptoms, including depression, insomnia, anxiety, psychosomatic
illness, nightmares etc. that are believed to be based
upon guilt feeling over being a sole or nearly
sole survivor of a disaster in which others
perished who were emotionally close, such as
parents, siblings, spouse, or friends. The survivor
syndrome is a type of post-traumatic stress
disorder (q.v.). See neurosis, traumatic.
Syndrome, temporal lobe: A constellation of characteristic interictal personality changes observed in
may patients with temporal lobe epilepsy, consisting of changes in sexual behaviour, religiosity, a
tendency toward extensive or compulsive drawing
and writing, preoccupation with detail and clarity,
and a profound sense of righteousness.
Syndrome, vulnerable child: Symptoms often noted in
child who, though he has survived an acute episode
of severe illness, continues to be treated by his
parents as if his life were still in considerable danger.
Syndrome, acute: Bleuler differentiated between the
acute and chronic forms of schizophrenia. The
acute syndromes are transitory states of various
kinds that may occur as simple exacerbations of
the chronic state or as reactive episodes, in
response to emotionally charged experiences. The
acute syndromes occur more frequently in the early
years of the disease process; they may last for
hours only, or they may persist for years. Subsequent memory for these episodes varies, but
complete amnesia for them is unusual. Bleuler listed
the following acute syndromes; melancholic condi-


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

tions, manic conditions, catatonic states, delusions

(amentia in the terms of the Viennese school),
twilight states. Benommenheit, confusional states,
fits of anger, anniversary excitements, stupor,
deliria, fugue states, and dipsomania. See schizophrenia.
Syndrome, culture-specific: Behaviour disorders that
appears to be limited to certain societies and have
no counterpart in current Western nosology.
Among such syndromes are amok, amurakh. Arctic
hysteria, bangungut, berserk, copying mania,
delahara, echul, falling out, fighting sickness, grisi
siknis. Hsieh-Ping. Imu, jumpers, juramentado,
kimilue, koro, lata, mal de pelea, menerik, miryachit,
olonism. Oriental nightmare-death syndrome,
piblokto, pseudoamok syndrome, Puerto Rican
syndrome, susto, Tropenkoller, voodoo death,
wihtigo psychosis, and windigo psychosis.
Syneidesis: (sin-I-de sis) This Greek word was proposed
by Monakow to replace the English conscience.
Monakow suggest that conscience is not a specifically human phenomenon and does not belong
to the sphere of consciousness, but is a characteristic of all living beings in any stage of development. This concept is at variance with prevailing
psychiatric opinion, which believes that conscience is a product of the interaction of the child
with frustration-producing elements in the childs
environment. See conscience.
Synergism, sexual: A sexual excitation that arises from
a combination of various stimuli acting simultaneously. The manifold pleasurable stimulation
of the surface of the body to unpleasant, or even
painful, processes within the organism. Freud
considered that perhaps every important physical
process contributes to the genesis of sexual excitement. Even the combination of the two opposed
instinctual tendencies love and hate may arouse
sexual excitement; sexual synergism can be aroused
provided the intensity of discomfort and pain does
not pass a certain limit. According to the individual

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


sexual constitution, this synergism manifests itself

in different ways.
Synesthesia: Condition in which the stimulation of one
sensory modality is perceived as sensation in a
different modality, as when a sound produces a
sensation of colour.
Syntaxic mode: The mode of perception that forms
whole, logical, coherent pictures of reality that can
be validated by others.
Syntaxic thought: Sullivans term for logical, goaldirected, reality-oriented thinking. See also Secondary process.
Syntropy: A term used by Adolf Meyer to characterize
healthy or wholesome relationships.
Systematic desensitization: A form of behaviour
therapy developed by Joseph Wolpe and others
in which anxiety-evoking stimuli are presented to
the patient while he is in a state of deep muscle
relaxation in an attempt to weaken the bond
between the stimuli and the anxiety. The technique
has proved particularly useful in the treatment of
phobias. See also Reciprocal inhibition and desensitization.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Taboo (Tabu): (1) Anthropological term for the setting
apart of an object or person or for the absolute
prohibition of some class of acts on the ground
that it would be a violation of the cultures whole
system of thought i.e., an object is taboo if, it is
untouchable, an act is taboo if it is unthinkable in
terms of the cultures structure. (2) Any action
which is prohibited by authority or by social
pressure can be described as taboo. In Psychoanalysis the taboos mentioned are incest and on
killing the totem animal. Tachylogia: See Logorrhea.
Tachyphasia: Extreme rapidity of flow of speech
occurring in anxiety states, mania and certain
organic states.
Tacit knowledge (in social psychology): A term used to
refer to the wide variety of things a person has to
know or assume in order both to make sense of
other peoples utterances and activities, and to
produce ones that are intelligible to others.
Talion: Retaliation. In psychoanalysis, the talion
principle refers to the fear that all injury, intentional
or accidental will be punished in kind that is, an
eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
Tangentiality: A disturbance in which the person replies
to a question in an oblique, digressive, or even
irrelevant manner and the central idea is not
communicated. The term has been used roughly
synonymously with loosening of associations and

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


speech derailment, but in DSM it refers only to

answers to questions and not to spontaneous
speech. Failure to communicate the central idea
distinguishes tangentiality from circumstantiality,
in which the goal idea is reached in a delayed or
indirect manner. See also Circumstantiality,
Communication disorder.
Tarasoff decision: A California court decision which
essentially imposes a duty on the therapist to warn
the appropriate person or persons when he
becomes aware that his patient any present a risk
of harm to a specific person or persons.
Tarantism: Dancing mania; specifically, what appears
to have been a culture-specific syndrome in Italy
in the 16th and 17th centuries, consisting of compulsive dancing as a way to undo the bite of tarantula.
Target patient: Group member on whom attention is
focused by other members; the patient under
discussion is structured interactional group
Task of Emotional Development (TED): Group whose
main energy is devoted to reaching some goal, as
in finding a solution to a problem, creating a specific
product, or pursuing in some other manner any
activity that is essentially goal directed. Distinguished from this type of groups is the experimental
group, which is mainly concerned with sharing
whatever happens in a more spontaneous, less
directed fashion.
TAT: See Thematic Apperception Test.
TED: See Tasks of Emotional Development.
Teeth grinding: Habitual clenching or grinding of the
teeth, unrelated to mastication, and occurring in
either sleep or the waking state. The subject usually
lacks full awareness of the symptom. The causes
can be multiple but release of emotional tension
through muscular contractions is commonly
implicated. Synonym bruxism.
Telegraphic speech: Concise speech which leaves out
redundant words, as in a telegram, but gets the


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

essential meaning across. Telegraphic speech is

used by children of around 2 years, who typically
combine only 2 or 3 words at a time in each
utterance. Indeified as such by Roger Brown, it
formed the basis of his approach to language
acquisition, which rejected the prevailing structural
approaches to infant speech and instead focused
on the childs communicative intentions. The
overall approach was known as semantic relations
Telemetry: Sending measurements over a distance,
usually using radio frequencies. Telemetry is used
to monitor the physiological responses of freely
moving subjects such as athletes, children at play,
and migrating birds.
Teleology: The study of purpose, also the claim that a
phenomenon exists for a purpose (extrinsic
teleology) or has a purpose of its own (immanent
Telepathy: Extrasensory perception of the mental
activities of another person.
Temperament: Inherent, constitutional predisposition
to react in a certain way to stimuli. Variations is
temperament are evident very early in life.
Tender mindedness: A personality characteristic put
forward by William James, and later elaborated by
H.J. Eysenck: characterized by a gently, optimistic
and idealistic approach to the world. Its opposite,
tough mindedness, is characterized by a harsher,
more pessimistic approach.
Tension: Physiological or psychic arousal, uneasiness,
or pressure toward action; an unpleasuarable
alteration in mental or physical state that seeks
relief through action.
Tension headache: A sensation of tightness, pressure,
or dull pain which may be generalized or, more
typically, have a band-like quality. As a transient
disturbance, it is commonly associated with the
stresses of everyday life but, when persistent, may

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


be presenting feature of an anxiety state or a depressive illness.

Terminal insomnia: Early morning awakening or
waking up at least 2 hours before planning to. See
also Initial insomnia and Middle insomnia.
Territoriality: Ethological concept referring to the fact
that in many species of animals, individuals
establish areas which they defend against introducing members of their own species. This behaviour-pattern presumably fulfils two functions:
spreading of the species over the available environment and reducing the occasions for fighting
members of the same species.
Test: A systematic procedure to measure or assess
some characteristic, ability, or skill of a subject,
such as intelligence or personality traits. A Normative-referenced test is one that compares the
performance of the individual subject with a group
whose performance on the test is used as a standard. A criterion-referenced test is one in which
the standard is a specified set of performances or
actions; the subject is evaluated as to whether he
does or does not meet the criteria, without comparing his performance to that of a group (e.g., can
the patient dress himself, or can be not?). See
reliability; validity.
Test, ability: Any evaluation of presently existing
potentiality or capacity to function; a test of maximal
performance in any area.
Test, ACE: The American Council of Education
intelligence test, designed for use with secondary
school and college students.
Test, achievement: Any evaluation of what gains the
subject has made in an area following training and
Test, analogies: A test of ability to comprehend
relationships, usually by asking the subject to name
the fourth term that bears the same relation to the
third as the second does to the first. Example: Ship
is to water as automobile is to what?


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Test, aptitude: A test of the probable level of future

performance that will be reached following further
maturation and/or training.
Test, Arthur Point Scale: A non-verbal performance
measure of intellectual ability, consisting of 10
subjects, mainly of the formboard variety. The test
is most reliable within the 7 to 13 year age range
and is of particular value when the subjects verbal
capacity is compromised by foreign language
handicap, speech or hearing defect, or personal
and cultural factors.
Test, Bender Visual-Motor Gestalt: A projective
technique consisting of nine geometrical figures
that are copied by the subject; devised by Lauretta
Bender and first described by her in 1938. Its chief
applications are to determine retardation, loss of
function, and organic brain defects in children and
adults, and in the study of personality deviations
that show regressive phenomena. It is of limited
usefulness in the study of neuroses and psychosomatic disorders.
Test, Bero: (baro) Behn-Rorschach test; a set of plates
prepared by Behn with the assistance of
Rorschach. Zullinger provided the norma of the
Bero test.
Test, beta: A set of mental tests used in the U.S. Army
in 191718, designed for illiterates. Instructions are
given in signs and the material is pictorial in
character, in contrast to alpha tests, which are
carried out verbally.
Test, block design: A performance test in which the
subject tries to match standard designs using
coloured blocks ; used as a measure of intelligence
and as an indicator of deterioration in brain damage
and in the schizophrenias.
Test, cancellation: Any test in which the subject is
instructed to strike out one or more specified
symbols may be particular letters, numbers, words,
or geometrical figures.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Test, chi-square: A statistical test, developed originally

by Karl Pearson, that measures the significance of
differences occurring between groups.
Test, Cornell Word Form (CWF): A modification of
the word-association technique devised to distinguish normals from subjects with neuropsychiatric and psychosomatic disorders in a way not
apparent to the subject. The test is used primarily
in industrial psychology. It consists of a list of
stimulus words, each of which is followed by two
response words. The subject is asked to encircle
whichever of the two words seems to him to be the
most related to the stimulus word; e.g., mother
mine, woman.
Test, draw-a-person: A method of personality analysis
based upon the interpretation of drawings of the
human figure. Although figure drawings had been
used by many workers in the field, it was Karen
Machover who in 1949 outlined a system of interpretation that was correlated with clinical diagnostic categories.
Test, drawing-of-a-man: See test, Goodenough.
Test, fact-hand: A test of diffuse cerebral dysfunction
devised by Bender. The subject, whose eyes are
closed, is touched simultaneously on the cheek
and the dorsum of the hand; retesting is done with
the eyes open. Results are considered positive if
the subject fails consistently to identity both stimuli
within 10 trials. By the age of 7, normal children
respond with a negative test. Positive results are
seen not only in cases of cerebral dysfunction in
children and adults, but also in schizophrenic
children. See tactile sensation, double simultaneous.
Test, Fink-Green-Bender: See tactile sensation, double
Test, Gesell development: The Gesell Schedules
consist of a series of 27 age level recorded observations and reactions to standardized situations
from birth through the first five years of life. At


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

each age level an inventory of activities is divided

into four categories of behavious: (1) Motor; (2)
Adaptive; (3) Language; and (4) Personal-Social.
Each of these categories of behaviour is evaluated
by observing the infant or child in a number of
standardized situations. (Masserman, J.H The
Practice of Dynamic Psychiatry, 1955).
Test, good and evil: See responsibility, criminal.
Test, Goodenough: A test of a childs intellectual level
of development based upon the subjects drawing
of a human figure. The test was introduced in 1926
by Florence Goodenouth, who standardized the
childrens drawings and thereby produced a simple
and satisfactory test of intelligence.
Test, House-Tree Person (HTP): A type of projective
test in which the subject is asked to draw a house,
a tree, and a person.
Test, Janets: (Pierre Janet, French physician, 18591947)
A test for the determination of tactile sensibility;
the patient answers yes or no when touched
by the examiners finger.
Test, Kent EGY: A series of 10 questions used for a
quick estimate of intelligence.
Test, Knox cube: A performance test, of particular value
when the subject suffers from a language handicap
or barrier, in which the subject taps a series of four
cubes in various prescribed sequences.
Test, Kohnstamm: The Kohnstamm maneuver is often
used to demonstrate suggestibility to a subject
being prepared for hypnotic trance induction. It is
a normal neurophysiologic reaction, elicited by
having the subject press his extended arm as
strenuously as possible against a wall for approximately two minutes, after which the arm will rise
automatically with or without a suggestion to that
Test, Kohs block-design: An intelligence test in which
the subject copies a design using small, multicoloured cubes.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Test, Lowenfeld: See test, mosaic.

Test, Machover: See test, draw a-person.
Test, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory
(MMPI): A personality questionnaire consisting
of 550 statements concerning behaviour, feelings,
social attitudes, and frank symptoms of psychopathology. To each question, the subject must
answer T (true), F (false), or ? (cannot say), and his
answer sheet is then scored by various keys that
have been standardized on different diagnostic
groups and personality types. The MMPI was
originally constructed by psychiatrist, J.C.
McKinley, and a psychologist, Starke Hathaway.
Test, mosaic: A projective technique, introduced by
M. Lowenfelf and further developed by F. Wertham,
which imploys a set of 300 colored pieces (black,
blue, red, green, yellow, and off-white) in six shapes
(squares, diamonds, oblongs, and three different
sized triangles). The subject is presented with the
test objects on a tray and is asked to make anything
he wants on the board. The designs made by adults
and children have been correlated with diagnostic
categories, and individual designs can be interpreted on the basis of these correlations.
Test, myokinetic psychodiagnosis: A test devised by
Mira that consists of drawings of patterns with
both the right and the left hands. The left-hand
drawings are believed to reveal genotypic reactions
and the right-hand drawings are said to express
more superficial phenotypic reactions. Comparison
of the drawings is made to diagnose various
conditions and character traits.
Test, organic integrity (OIT): A modification of the
Casgrandie test for colour-dominance and formdominance perception, described by H.C. Tien. The
OIT is said to be a rapid test for organic brain
disease; it is based on the theory that central
nervous system damage will interfere with ability
to perceive form.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Test-person: The subject who is examined by the

association method.
Test, PMA: A test of seven traits believed by Thurstone
and Thurstone to account for most of the variance
in primary mental abilities (PMA). These traits are:
V (verbal comprehension), W (word fluency),
N (number), S (space), M (associative memory),
P (perceptual speed), and R (reasoning) or I (induction).
Test, progressive matrices: An intelligence test in
which the subject is asked to choose, from several
alternatives, the one part that will complete the
abstract design presented to him. The test is made
up of 60 such designs.
Test, projective: A type of psychologic test in which
the test material presented to the subject is such
that any response will necessarily be determined
by his own prevailing mood or underlying
psychopathology. See method, projective.
Test, psycholinguistic: See Illinois Test of Psycholinguistic Abilities.
Test, right and wrong: See responsibility, criminal.
Test, Rorschach: (Hermann Rorschach, Swiss psychiatrist, 18841922) A projective test consisting of ten
inkblots of varying designs and colors, which are
shown to the subject one at a time with the request
of interpret them. Its purpose is to furnish a description of the dynamic forces to personality through
an analysis of the formal aspects of the subjects
interpretations. The test yields information as to
the intellectual and emotional processes, the degree
of personality integration, variability in mental
functioning, and the degree to which the subject
responds to environmental influenced and to his
inner promptings. The test not only is used to
obtain a picture of the subjects personality, but
also serves as an aid in problems of differential
psychiatric diagnosis and prognosis.
Test, sociometric: The sociometric test is an instrument
with which to measure the amount of the organiza-

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


tion shown by social groups. It requires an individual

to choose associated for any group of which he is
or might become a member. The test reveals that
the underlying attraction-repulsion pattern of a
group differs widely from its visible structure and
the groups tested upon the basis of different criteria
tend toward diversity of structures. These structures have been revealed when the criteria of the
test have been applied to home groups, work
groups, and school groups.
Test, spiders web: A test of the biological effects of
various body fluids (urine, serum, etc.) on the
pattern of a spiders web. It has been found, for
example, that schizophrenic urine gives different
and more marked pattern changes than does nonschizophrenic urine.
Test, spontaneity: The spontaneity test proceeds by
throwing the subject into standard life situations
in which he improvises freely while acting opposite
members of the group to whom he has been found
emotionally related as revealed by the sociometric
test, either through attraction or repulsion. The
situations may express such emotions like anger,
fear, sympathy, dominance or any other emotions.
They may express such as father, employer, or any
other roles.
Test, Stanford-Binet: The revised Stanford-Binet
Intelligence Scale is the test most frequently used
in the individual examination of children. It consists
of 120 items, plus several alternative tests that are
applicable to the age range between two years and
adulthood. The tests have a variety of activities of
graded difficulty, both verbal and performance
designed to tap a variety of intellectual functions
such as memory, free association, orientation in
time, language comprehension, knowledge of
common objects, comprehension, knowledge of
common objects, comparison of concepts, perception of contradictions, understanding of abstract
terms, the ability to meet novel situations and the


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

use of practical judgement. In addition to many

other varieties of function, there are also tests of
visual-motor coordination. The score is expressed
in months of mental age, which is divided by the
chronological age (in months) and then multiplied
by 100 to give the intelligence quotient.
Test, Szondi: A projective test, developed by Szondi in
Switzerland in the 1940s, which consists of six sets
of pictures, each set containing eight photographs.
These eight photographs are of eight different
psychobiologic conditions-homesexual, sadist,
epileptic, hysteria, catatonic schizophrenic,
paranoid schizophrenic, manic-depressive
depressed, manic-depressive manic. The subject
chooses from each set the two pictures he likes
most and the two he dislikes the most. The eight
different conditions portrayed are presumed to be
extreme pathologic representatives of the eight
basic emotional needs. The test is interpreted in
terms of the degree of tension, and the subjects
attitude to this tension, in each of these eight needsystems. The need-systems are as follows: the
need for tender, feminine love (h factor); the need
for aggression and masculinity (s factor); the mode
of dealing with crude, aggressive motions (e factor);
the need to exhibit emotions (hyfactor); narcissistic
ego-needs (k factor); the expansive tendencies of
the ego (p factor); the need for acquiring and
mastering object (d factor); and the need to cling
to objects for enjoyment (m factor). Although the
Szondi test can be used clinically, as a projective
technique, without reference to the viewpoint that
let to its development, the basis of the test is
Szondis theory of genotropism (q.v.).
Test, thematic apperception (TAT): A projective
technique, originally described by Morgan and
Murray in 1935, which focuses primarily on the
dynamics of interpersonal relationships. In its
present form (the third set to be used since 1935),
it consists of a series of 31 pictures that depict a

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


number of social situations and interpersonal

relations. In clinical practice, 10 or 12 of the pictures
are usually selected by the examiner on the basis
of which of the total 31 are most likely to elicit
information on the subjects problems. The selected
pictures are then presented to the subjects
relationship to authority figures, to contemporaries
of both sexes, and in terms of the compromises
between and the needs to the id, the ego, and the
superego. There are various method of interpreting
results; the one advocated by Murrary is the needpress method (see method, need-press). L. Bellak
recommends interpretation in terms of the following
14 categories: main theme, main hero, attitudes to
parental figures, figures introduced, objects introduced, objects omitted, attribution of blame, significant conflicts, punishment for crime attitude to
hero, signs of inhibition (in aggression, sex, etc.),
outcome, pattern of need gratification, and plot. It
is to be noted that the TAT is only incidentally a
diagnostic tool and is not primarily designed for
nosologic classification.
Test, Wada dominance of 34 minutes: described by
J. Ehrenwald (Archives of General Psychiatry 7,
1962), who theorizes that it is a measure of ego
strength in that it causes a temporary breakdown
of the synthetic and integrative functions of the
ego touched off by the dissociation of the visual
and postural components of the patients experiences of the body image and of the outside world.
Test, Wada dominance: A method for determining the
side of cerebral dominance by intracarotid injection
of amobarbital, introduced by J. Wada in 1949.
Test, Wechsler-Bellevue: An intelligence test, that most
widely used test in the average adult, consisting
of five verbal tests, five performance test, and an
additional vocabulary test. The 11 subtests are as
follows: general in formation, general comprehension, arithmetic, digit span, similarities, vocabulary, picture arrangement, picture completion,


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

block design, object assembly, and digit symbol.

The subtests are scored on the basis of sped and
accuracy, and results can be transplanted into
standard scores that give verbal IQ, the
performance IQ, and the full-scale IQ.
Test, Word-in-context: A test of capacity for verbal
reasoning in which the subject is asked to
determine the meaning of a given word by reading
selected passages of prose.
Test, Z: See test, Zulliger.
Test, Zulliger: A brief Rorschach-type test of particular
value for rapid screening of a group of patients;
administration time averages ten minutes.
Testamentary capacity: In the executing of a legally
valid will, the basic required legal elements are:
(a) the approximate monetary value and nature of
the estate should be known by the testator; (b) he
should know the natural heirs to his bounty (that
is, a spouse or other blood related persons to whom
the estate would ordinarily be expected to go);
(c) he should know that the instrument (will) that
he is signing is, in fact, a will; and (d) he should
know the beneficiaries of the will.
Tests, alpha: A series of mental tests, first used in the
United States military service (1917) to determine
the relative mental ability of recruits. There are eight
different types of test: for directions, arithmetical
ability, practical judgement, synonyms and antonyms, correct arrangement of sentences, completion of series of digits, analogies, and information.
The tests are designed particulary for group application and for rapid mechanical scoring.
Tests, Binet-Simon: (be-na semaw N) (Alfred Binet,
French psychologist, 18571911, and Theodore
Simon, French physician, 18731861). Tests of
intellectual capacity, which is expressed as the
intelligence quotient (IQ), introduced in France in
1905 as a result of studies made to determine
whether children could be educated as the new

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


laws required. The Standford revision of the tests

for use with American children was made in 1916,
although they had already been introduced into
the United States of Goddard in 1910.
Tests, Brunet: (broo-na) A development scale designed
for use with infants as young as 1 month.
Tests, Buhler: A development scale designed for use
with infants from birth up to school age.
Tests, sorting: A method of psychological testing in
which the subjects into groups on the basis of
similarity or some other abstract relationship. Such
sorting or Zurodnung tests are particularly associated with Kurt Goldstein. Vigotsky, Hanfmann,
and Kaanin. Patients with cortical lesions, particularly, show impairment of abstract behavious as
measured by these tests. Schizophrenics, too, do
poorly on these tests; but performance is more
varied than in ordinary brain damage cases, for the
schizophrenic tends to project himself into the test
objects and animate and embellish them.
T-group (training group): A group that emphasizes
training in self-awareness and group dynamics.
Thanatology: The study of death and the matters
leading up to it and following it.
Thanatos: The name of the Greek god of death, which
was used by Freud to refer to the death instinct; a
concept which he developed in order to account
for the interpersonal and intrapersonal aggression
of World War I. See also Death Instinct.
Theater of Spontaneity (Stegreiftheater): Improvizational theater in Vienna that played an important
role in the development of psychodrama by J.L.
Moreno as a therapeutic technique in group psychotherapy.
Thematic Apperception Test (TAT): A projective
psychological test in which the subject supplies
interpretations of a series of ambiguous life
situation drawings, based on his own feelings and
attitudes and reflecting his unconscious conflicts


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

and defensive structure. See also Michigan Picture

Theory: A general statement predicting, explaining, or
describing the relationships among a number of
Theory of the humours: A type theory of personality
originating in the second century BC, and popular
throughout the Middle Ages. It identified four main
types of personality, each of which was supposed
to come about through the action of particular body
fluids. The four types are: choleric, thought to
result from an excess of yellow bile; sanguine, from
blood; melancholic, from black bile, and phlegmatic,
from phlegm. That this was a popular theory can
be seen in the way that many words have retained
meanings which derive directly from that theory. It
was this view of the origins of human personality
which led to the word humour, which had meant
bodily fluid, coming to mean mood or temper.
Therapeutic agent: Anything a person or a drug
that promotes healing.
Therapeutic alliance: Conscious contractual
relationship between therapist and patient in which
each implicitly agrees that they need to work
together to help the patient with his problems. It
involves a therapeutic splitting of the patients ego
into observing and experiencing parts. A good
therapeutic alliance is especially necessary for the
contribution of treatment during phases of strong
negative transference. See also Working alliance.
Therapeutic community: Institutional treatment setting
designed with an emphasis on the importance of
socioenvironmental and interpersonal influences
in the therapy, management and rehabilitation of
the hospitalized mental patient. See also Milieu
Therapeutic crisis: Turning point in the treatment
process. An example is acting out, which, depending on how it is dealt with, may not lead to a
therapeutic change in the patients behaviour. See
also Therapeutic impasse.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Therapeutic group: Group of patients joined together

under the leadership of a therapist for the purpose
of working together for psychotherapeutic endsspecifically, for the treatment of each patients
mental disorders.
Therapeutic impasse: Deadlock in the treatment
process. Therapy is in a state of imminent failure
when there is no further insight or awareness and
when sessions are reduced to routine meetings of
patient and therapist. Unresolved resistances and
transference and countertransference conflicts are
among the common causes of the phenomenon.
See also Therapeutic crisis.
Therapeutic role: Position in which one aims to treat,
bring about an improvement, or provide alleviation
of a distressing condition or state.
Therapeutic window: The well-defined range of blood
levels associated with optimal clinical response to
antidepressant drugs, such as nortiptyline. Levels
above or below that range are associated with a
poor response.
Therapist: See Psychotherapist.
Thinking: See Cognition.
Thinking compulsion: See Intellectualization.
Thinking through: The mental process that occurs in
an attempt to understand ones own behaviour and
gain insight from it.
Third ear: Ability to make use of intuition, sensitivity,
and awareness of subliminal cues to interpret
clinical observations of individual and group
patients. First introduced by the German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, the term was later used
in analytic psychotherapy by Theodor Reik.
Thompson, Clara: (18931958) American psychoanalyst; associated with Harry Sullivar and his
modification of psychoanalysis (interpersonal
Third nervous system: Burrows conception of a
nervous system based on function, rather than


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Thought, abstract: See Abstract thinking.

Thought broadcasting: Feeling that ones thoughts are
being broadcast or projected into the environment.
Seen in schizophrenia.
Thought, concrete: See Concrete thinking.
Thought control: See Delusion of control.
Thought deprivation: See Blocking.
Thought disorder: Any disturbance of thinking that
affects language, communication, or thought
content. Thought disorder is the hallmark feature
of schizophrenia. Its manifestations range from
simple blocking and mild circumstantiality to
profound loosening of associations, incoherence,
and delusions. See also Communication disorder,
Language disorder.
Thought disorder, content: Disturbance of thinking in
which the person exhibits delusions that may be
multiple, fragmented, and bizarre.
Thought disorder, formal: A disorder in the form of
thought, as distinguished from the content of
thought. It is characterized by a failure to follow
semantic and syntactic rules that it not consistent
with the persons education, intelligence, or cultural
Three-cornered therapy: See Co-therapy.
Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality: Title of a
book by Freud published in 1905. It applied the
libido theory to the successive phases of psychosexual maturation in the infant, child, and
adolescent. It made possible the integration of a
vast diversity of clinical observations and promoted the direct observation of child development.
Tic: Involuntary, spasmodic, stereotype movement of
a small group of muscles. Predominantly psychogenic, tics are seen most prominently in moments
of stress or anxiety. They are rarely the result of
organic disease.
Time and motion: A method of analyzing working
pattern developed by F.W. Taylor down work

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


sequences into sequences of actions with maximum

economy and minimum effort. Taylor showed how
productivity in industry could be dramatically
increased, and his work is often considered to be
the foundation of ergonomics. Although it is still
used from time to time today, it has proved to be of
only limited value on the factory floor; people have
an understandable aversion of being treated as if
they were robots.
Time perception: The subjective of the passage of time,
which is found not to correspond precisely with
objective time. Time perception has been studied
experimentally to determine the effect of various
forms of cognitive tasks, and of psychoactive
Timidity: Inability to assert oneself for fear of some
fancied reprisal, even in the absence of objective
evidence of potential harm.
Tip of the tongue phenomenon: A phenomenon of
memory in which the individual experiences the
feeling of knowing the desired information but is
temporarily unable to bring it to consciousness.
Toe-walking: Walking on the toes rather than on the
whole foot; toe-walking has been reported in
approximately 20% of childhood schizophrenics.
Toilet training: The program of teaching a child to
control his bladder and bowel functions. The
attitudes of both parent and child regarding the
period may have important psychological implications for the childs later development.
Token economy: A program applying principles of
operant conditioning to the management of an
institutional setting, such as a ward or a classroom.
The reinforcement of desirable behaviour is provided
in the form of tokens and credits (conditioned
reinforcers) that may be exchanged for a variety of
positive reinforces, such as food, television time,
and a weekend pass. See also Reinforcement.
Tolerance: Phenomenon in which, after repeated
administration, a given dose of a drug produces a


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

decreased effect, or increasingly larger doses must

be administered to obtain the effect observed with
the original dose. See also Drug dependence.
Topological psychology: The psychological geometry
formulated by Lewin (1936) to represent
diagrammatically certain structural concepts of field
Torpedoing: The application of intense electrical
currents to the bodily region involved in hysterical
Totem: Anthropological term for animal, plant of other
object which is venerated by a particular tribe or
community and which it treats as a symbol of itself
or as its protector. In Freuds Totem and Taboo
(1911), the speculative theory, the totem symbolizes
the primal. Father who was murdered when his sons
rebelled against his mastery of the primal Horde.
Totem and Taboo: Title of a book by Freud published in
1913. In it he applied his psychoanalytic concepts
to the data of anthropology. He was able to afford
much insight into the meaning of trail organizations
of customs, especially by invoking the Oedipus
complex and the characteristics of magical thought
as he had discovered them from studies of the
unconscious. See also Oedipus complex.
Tourettes disease: See Gilles de la Tourettes disease.
Toxic psychosis: A psychosis caused by toxic
substances produced the body or introduced into
it in the form of chemicals or drugs. See also
Substance-induced organic mental disorder.
Trainable: Capable of achieving a certain degree of
self-care and social adjustment at home and
vocational usefulness in a closely supervised
setting. The term describes the moderately mentally
retarded. See also Educate, Mental retardation.
Trainer: Professional leader or facilitator of a sensitivity
training or T-group, teacher or supervisor of a
person learning the science of practice or group

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Training group: See T-group.

Trait: An aspect of personality, such as sociability,
impulsiveness, conveniently, etc. See also trait
Trait theory: A theory of personality in which personality is considered to consist of a collection of
differing, usually measurable traits. One of the best
known examples, is that of R.B. Cattell whose
personality inventory measures 16 different
personality factors (and so is called the 16PF).
Trance: A state of focused attention and diminished
sensory and motor activity seen in hypnosis,
hysterical neurosis, dissociative types (see under
neurosis), and ecstatic religious states.
Transaction: Interaction that arises in an encounter
between two or more persons. Eric Berne, the
founder of transactional analysis, defined a
transaction as involving a stimulus from an ego
state of one person and the corresponding response from a ego state of another person.
Transactional analysis: Eric Bernes system of
psychodynamic psychotherapy that focuses on
the interactions that is, transactions between
the patient and the therapist in the treatment
session and between the patient and others in his
social environment. The system includes four
components: (1) Structural analysis of intrapsychic
phenomena; (2) transactional analysis proper, the
determination of the currently dominant ego state
(parent, child or adult) of each participant; (3) game
analysis, identification of the games played in their
interactions and of the gratifications provided; and
(4) script analysis, uncovering of the causes of the
patients emotional problems. Transactional
analysis is used in both individual and group
Transference neurosis: A phenomenon occurring in
psychoanalysis in which the patient develops a
strong emotional attachment to the therapist as a


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

symbolized nuclear familial figure. The repetition

and the depth of that misperception or symbolization characterize it as a transference neurosis.
Transient situation disturbance: Self-limited mental
disorder of any severity occurring in response to
an overwhelmingly stressful situation. In DSM-III
replaced by adjustment disorder. See also Adjustment disorder.
Transsexualism: A gender identity disorder in which a
person has a desire to be of the opposite sex. Some
transsexuals, many of whom have adopted the role
of the opposite sex since childhood, have successfully undergone sex-changing surgical procedures,
accompanied by intensive hormonal therapy and
Transvestism: A paraphilia characterized by dressing
in the clothing of the opposite sex for the purpose
of sexual arousal. It is usually seen in men with a
strong desire to appear as women. It is also spelled
Trauma: In psychiatry, a significant upsetting experience or event that may precipitate or aggravate a
mental disorder.
Traumatic neurosis: A neurosis occurring after severe
physical or psychological trauma. A useless term,
best avoided.
Trend of thought: Thinking that centers on a particular
idea associated with an affective tone.
Triad: Interactional relationship among three persons.
Its prototype, the father-mother-child relationship,
may evolve projectively in group therapy.
Triad, anal: The group of three prime, or outstanding
traits of the so-called anal character: (1) Obstinacy
(2) Parsimony (3) Pedantic orderliness.
Trichotillomania: Compulsion to pull out ones hair.
Tuke, William (17321819): British pioneer in the
treatment of mental patients without the use of
physical restraints.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Tumescence, Penile: Erection of the penis. Nocturnal

penile tumescence (NPT) is associated with over
90% of REM sleep episodes and is thus useful aid
in differentiating between psychogenic (where
NPT is ordinarily preserved) and impotence due to
organic impairment (where NPT is typically reduced
or absent).
Turning against the self: One of the four instinctual
vicissitudes described by Freud (1915), the other
three being Reversal into its opposite. Repression
and Sublimation, listed by Anna Freud (1937) as
one of the mechanisms of Defence.
Twin research: A powerful method of investigating the
relative degree of phenotypic variance that can be
attributed to genetic factors and to transmissible
and nontransmissible environmental factors. For
example, the dissimilarities between monozygotic
twins are compared with the behavioural variations
occurring in non-twin siblings or dizygotic twins.
Type A personality: A temperament characterized by
excessive drive, competitiveness, a sense of time
urgency, impatience, unrealistic ambition, and need
for control. Believed to be associated with a high
incidence of coronary artery disease.
Type B personality: A temperament characterized by a
relaxed, easy-going demeanor; less time-bound
and competitive than the A personality.
Type 1 error: Research term referring to the rejection
of the null hypothesis when it is true that is,
concluding erroneously that an observed effect or
result is significant when, in fact, it is not and can
be explained solely on the basis of the operation
of chance factors. When the statistically calculated
probability (P value) of making a type I error on the
basis of an experimental result is less than 0.05, the
result is considered statistically significant. The
type of error and the arbitrarily chosen 0.05 level
of significance are sometimes called alpha (). See
also Null hypothesis, Satistical significance, Type
2 error.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Type 2 error: The failure to reject a false null hypothesis

that is, concluding that any difference or effect
demonstrated in an experiment is no greater than
that expected by chance alone when, in fact, there
is an actual difference or effect. It is also called a
beta () error. See also Null hypothesis, Satistical
significance, Type 1 error.
Type theory: A theory of personality in which people
are classified according to common characteristics.
Sheldon grouped people according to types of
physique, their somatotype, with personality characteristics supposedly associated with particular
kinds of bodily build. Jung also grouped people
according to personality type, most famously
introversion and extroversion. The theory of the
humours provides another example of an early type
theory of personality. A more restricted approach
in the study of personality is the narrow-band
approach, the identification of a single type such
as the authoritarian personality.

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Unconditional positive regard: A prerequisite for mental
health and personal growth, according to Carl
Rogers. Rogers identifies two basic human needs:
the need for positive regard, from other people,
and the need for self-actualization. The person
must satisfy both of these needs, but if their only
positive regard is conditional upon good or appropriate behaviour, then much of their behaviour will
be directed towards obtaining that approval. This
means that they will not feel free to explore their
own potential and their need for self-actualization
because of the fear of engendering social disapproval. Most people, however, have at least one
person at some time in their life who gives them
unconditional positive regard. In that relationship,
they can be sure of the persons affection and
warmth, and this means that they can feel free to
develop and explore new aspects of themselves.
Unconditional positive regard is usually provided
by parents, during childhood, though Rogers
believes that it is not tied to the early years of life.
The formation of such a basis of unconditional
positive regard is at the heart of Rogers clientcentered therapy.
Unconditioned response: A response which occurs
automatically to a particular stimulus, and not have
to be learned. For example, pulling the hand away
from a burningly hot surface is an unconditioned
response: it happens as a reflex, without the need


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

for conscious recognition of what is happening.

See also unconditioned stimulus, conditioned response, conditioned stimulus, classical conditioning, conditioning.
Unconditioned stimulus: A stimulus which automatically produces a response in an organism (animal
or human being). The term unconditioned means
not learned: a stimulus of this kind will operate
by reflex, or automatically, with no learning being
necessary. It forms the basis for classical conditioning as the new, conditioned stimulus becomes
linked with the unconditioned one. See conditioning.
Unconscious: 1. (Noun) In psychoanalysis, the topographic division of the mind in which the psychic
material is not readily accessible to conscious
awareness by ordinary means. Its existence may
be manifested in symptom formation, in dreams,
or under the influence of drugs. 2. (Noun) In
popular but more ambiguous usage, any mental
material not in the immediate field of awareness.
3. (Adjective) In a state of unawareness, with lack
of response to external stimuli, as in a coma. See
also Conscious, Preconscious.
Unconscious motive: A motive of which the person is
unaware but which continues to have an effect on
behaviour. For example, a student may underachieve during exams owing to an unconscious
rebellion against parental pressure to succeed;
although consciously, she or he will be trying to
do as well as possible, the chosen revision strategies are ineffectual, relying on rote learning or
simply reading through notes, and this ensures
that they do not do as well as they could. Unconsciously, they have shied away from being too
successful. Human behaviour is often influenced
by such unconscious motives; and disentangling
them such that the individual becomes aware of
what is going on can be one of the main tasks of

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


Underachieve: One who fails to perform at the level of

his known potential or capability.
Undersocialized: Characterized by the absence of
adequate social bonds to others. See also Conduct
Undifferentiated schizophrenia: A schizophrenic
disorder in which the psychotic symptoms are
prominent but do not fall into the other schizophrenic subtypes.
Ultradian rhythm: See Biological rhythm.
Ululation: The incoherent crying of psychotic or
hysterial patient.
Undoing: An unconscious defense mechanism by
which a person symbolically acts out in reverse
something unacceptable that has already been
done or against which the ego must defend itself.
A primitive defense mechanism, undoing is a form
of magical expiatory action. Repetitive in nature, it
is commonly observed in obsessive compulsive
Unilateral awareness: The first level of involvement in
the growth of relationships; a person notices
another and may make judgements evaluating the
characteristics of the other. Compare surface
contact, stage of mutuality.
Unipolar psychosis: An effective disorder characterized
by recurrent episodes of depression or, much more
rarely, recurrent manic states. See also Bipolar
affective disorder, Manic depressive illness.
Unprepared behaviours: Responses which can be
acquired by an animal species when learning
procedures are applied. Compare prepared
behaviours, contra prepared behaviours.
Uranomania: The delusion that one is of divine or
celestial origin.
Uranophobia: Fear of heaven.
Uxoricide: Killing of a wife by her husband.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Vaginismus: Painful vaginal spasm, usually psychogenic, that occurs during coitus, causing dyspareunia. It may have its onset during preparation for
intercourse, making penile insertion impossible.
Validity: The extent to which a test measures what it is
designed to measure. Types (a) Predictive (ability
of the test to predict outcome); (b) Content (whether
the test selects a representative sample of the total
tests for that variable; (c) Construct (how well the
experiment tests the hypothesis underlying it).
Vampirism: The phenomenon of the vampire, an
ancient, ubiquitous and fascinating activity in
which an individual is involved in the ingestion of
blood, necrophilic activity and necrosadism. The
psychiatric conditions that seemed to have a close
relation with it are schizophreniform disorders,
hysteria, severe psychopathic disorders and
mental retardation.
Variable: In research, any characteristic or factor that
may assume different values. The terms independent variable and dependent variable indicate
a relationship of cause and effect, respectively.
Variable-interval schedule: See Schedule of reinforcement.
Variable-ratio schedule: See Schedule of reinforcement.
Variance: A statistical measure of the variability within
a set of observations. It is defined as the sum of

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


the squared deviations from the mean divided by

the number of observations. It equals the standard
deviation squared. Analysis of variance is a technique for testing experimental results for significance; it is used when more than two sample
means are to be compared. See also Analysis of
Variation: A statistical term referring to the manner in
which persons in a population vary among themselves with respect to a given quality or trait. Three
common measures of variation are the range, the
variance, and the standard deviation. A knowledge
of variation in a population is important because it
indicate how useful the mean value is as a representative figure. Variability of persons also affects
the precision of sample estimates.
Veblem, Thorstin: Born in rural Winconsin, USA in
1857, he gave The theory of the leisure class.
Vegetatove: Pertaining to functions that are largely
physiological concerned with the growth, nutrition,
or general physical health and homeostasis of the
organism. In depression, the term is applied to
characteristic symptoms, such as sleep disturbance
(especially early morning awakening), decreased
appetite, constipation, weight loss, and loss of
sexual response. Vegetative nervous system is an
obsolete term for autonomic nervous system.
Veraguth, fold of: (Otto Veraguth, German neurologist,
18701940) Contraction upward and lackward of
the inner third of upper eyelid, thus changing and
arch of upper lid into an angle. Veraguth described
this change as a characteristic sign of depressed
type of manic-depressive psychosis.
Verbal amnesia: See Amnesia, neurological.
Verbal deprivation hypothesis: The idea put forward
by Bernstein and others, that the form of language
learned by a child could represent a disadvantage
when it came to learning or handling abstract forms
of information. Bernstein argued that restricted


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

codes of language, with their relatively limited

vocabularies and reliance on shared assumptions
on the part of the listener, meant that would find
the kind of conceptual and abstract learning which
they encountered in school inherently more difficult
than children who used elaborated codes. This idea
was hotly disputed by many researchers, notably
Labov, who demonstrated that children who used
highly restricted codes of handling abstract and
theoretical concepts, as long as those concepts
were introduced in a setting in which the children
felt relaxed.
Verbal memory: This term is used in two main ways.
Firstly to mean the storing of mental images by
using words as a form of coding for information. In
this case, verbal memory is simply meant as a
variation of symbolic representation, with all the
associated features and advantages. Secondly, the
term is used to mean memory for words. Much
laboratory research on memory, especially in the
early years, concentrated initially on asking
subjects to memorize list of words, partly because
subjects were able to state clearly exactly what
they remembered, which was not always easy with
visual or auditory images. But there is considerable
recent evidence to suggest that this form of
learning is qualitatively different from the way that
people remember connected prose or speech, and
even more different from everyday memory. In its
most general sense, verbal memory includes
memory for speech and prose.
Verbomania: Meaningless and stereotyped repetition
of words or phrases. It is also known as cataphasis.
It is a symptom seen in schizophrenia. See also
Perseveration, Logorrhea.
Verstehende psychologie: An approach to psychology
applying the method of verstehen i.e., understanding mental processes in others through
observation of physical processes and analogy to

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


ones own (directly accessible) mental processes.

The term was coined by Jaspers.
Vicarious learning: Learning through observing what
happens to others. Vicarious learning was particularly investigated by Bandura in studies of
imitation in children. He found that children who
saw others being rewarded for aggressive acts
were more likely to imitate them. Behaviour patterns
may be acquired or abandones as a consequence
of seeing other people being rewarded or punished
for them. See also identification.
Vienna Psychoanalytic Society: An outgrowth of the
Wednesday Evening Society, an informal group of
Freuds earliest followers. The new name was
acquired and a reorganization took place in 1910,
when the society became a component of the newly
formed International Psychoanalytical Society.
Alfred Adler was president from 1910 to 1911, and
Freud was president from 1911 until it was disbanded by the Nazis in 1938.
Vineland Social Maturity Scale: Psychological test
assessing capacity for independent functioning.
Visceral learning: See Biofeedback.
Visual cliff: An apparatus for testing depth perception in young animals and babies.
Visual hallucination: See Hallucination.
Visual illusions: Figures which appear to be other than
they really are, as a result of the ways in which the
brain interprets information. Visual illusions have
been extensively studied by psychologists, as it is
thought that investigations of the errors of perception can throw light on how normal perceptual
processes work. The visual illusions most commonly studied by psychologists fall into three main
categories: geometric illusions, usually in the form
of simple line drawings, illusions of movement,
such as the phi phenomenon or the waterfall effect,
and colour illusions.


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

Voice-recognition systems: Computer systems which

can analyse the distinctive features of the human
voice, and respond to key words which have been
spoken. The development of voice-recognition
systems forms a major area of research in the field
of artificial intelligence, but represents no easy task,
owing to wide differences in articulation shown
by different people. Some success has been
achieved in the development of systems which can
learn patterns of speech used by a particular
person. This is usually achieved by the individual
concerned reading out a set of key words and
phrases, which the computer system uses as a
baseline for identifying their characteristic speech
patterns, and retains for when next receiving
information from that person.
Volitional: Self-initiated.
Volubility: See Logorrhea.
Volly principle: In the auditory system, and in several
others sensory systems, the intensity of a stimulus
is signaled by means of the rate at which electrical
impulses are fired to the brain. This signal can be
achieved by each neurone firing very rapidly but
owing to the absolute and relative refractory
periods, there is a limit to how fast each neuron
can fire. In the case of very intense stimuli, the
neurons fire in relays or volleys: a set of neurons
will fire, closely followed by another set, and then
other. In this way, the brain receives a series of
impulses at a rate which would not be possible for
the neurons if each were firing singly.
Voluntary control: Deliberate bringing about of an
activity or refraining from an activity The person
exercising the control is aware of the nature of the
activities and of the end to be achieved.
Volunteer bias: Individuals who volunteer for some
procedures are not generally representative of the
total population. Self selected patients who seek
out treatment based upon newspaper publicity, for

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


example, are likely to do significantly better than

random patients who are simply offered the
Von Domarus principle: A theory to explain schizophrenic thinking which is characterized by the idea
that two things are identical merely because they
have identical predicates or properties. First
proposed by Eilhard von Domarus in 1946.
Vorbeireden: One who is at cross purposes with another; applied to the person with Genser syndrome
who seems to miss the point of questions put to
him by talking around or past them and giving nonsensical or approximate answers.
Voyeurism: A paraphilia in which sexual excitement,
frequently with orgasm, is obtained by looking at
others naked, disrobing, or engaging in sexual


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

WAIS: See Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale.
Waterfall effect: A special case of a negative aftereffect involving the perception of steady movement. If someone looks steadily at movement
which occurs consistently in one direction, such
as gazing at a waterfall, then, when they look away
at a stable background, they experience an illusion
of movement in the opposite direction. In the case
of the waterfall, this involves the impression that
the bank or surroundings are moving steadily
upwards; if the effect is as a result of the movement
of a train, then the train may seem to be moving
backward when it stops at a station.
Watson, John B. (18781958): American psychologist
the founder of the behaviourism school of
Waxy flexibility: See Catalepsy.
Weber, Max (18641920): A German sociologist, with
Durkheim, as one of the two founder of modern
sociology. He wrote, The Protestant ethic and the
spirit of capitalism. He divided social action into
four types Zweckrational (rational action in
pursuit of a goal). Wertrational (rational action with
reference to a value), emotional and traditional.
Webers law: A law discovered by Ernst Weber in the
early years of psychology, during which psychophysics was being developed. The law stated that
the amount by which a stimulus needs to be

Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences


changed in order for the change to be noticeable

(the just noticeable difference) is a constant
proportion of the strength of the stimulus. The
value of this constant proportion is know as
Webers constant. In practical terms, the implications of Webers law is that stronger stimuli will
need to increase or reduce by greater amounts than
do smaller stimuli, before they are perceived as
different. See also Fechners law, power law.
Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS): Intelligence test assessing intellectual functioning in
Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC):
Intelligence test assessing intellectual functioning
in children aged 5 to 15.
Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence
(WPPSI): Intelligence test assessing intellectual
functioning in children aged 4 to 6.
Wednesday Evening Society: A small group of Freuds
followers who in 1902 started meeting with him
informally on Wednesday evenings to receive
instructions in psychoanalysis. As the society
grew in numbers and importance, it evolved in 1910
into the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society.
Weekend hospital: A form of partial hospitalization in
which the patient spends only weekends in the
hospital and functions in the outside world during
the week. See also Day hospital, Night hospital,
Partial hospitalization.
Weltanschauung: (German) World outlook; conception
of reality; philosophy of life.
Weyer, Johann (15151588): Dutch physician considered by some to be the first psychiatrist. His
interest in human behaviour led to his writing De
Praestigiis Daemonum (1563), a landmark in the
history of psychiatry.
White, William Alanson (18701937): American
psychiatrist famous for his early support of
Psychoanalysis and his contributions to forensic


Dictionary of Psychology & Allied Sciences

White-out Syndrome: A psychosis that occurs in Arctic

explorers and mountaineers who are exposed to a